The Saudi teenager, who has been in Thailand for almost a week after escaping allegations of family abuse, is leaving for Canada on Friday night, according to a report.
Canada was one of several countries that held talks with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the acceptance of Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who was arrested at a Bangkok airport by the Thai immigration police last Saturday after being denied entry and after confiscating his passport, said that Alqunun was going to Canada ̵
After the 18-year-old barricaded herself in an airport hotel room, she launched a social media campaign via her Twitter account that drew her attention worldwide. Her efforts have received public and diplomatic support to convince Thai officials to temporarily keep her under the protection of the U.N. permit.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees granted refugee status on Wednesday. Thai immigration leader Surachate Hakparn told reporters that US forces would accelerate the case, although he did not give any indication of the timing of the trial.
Alqunun's case has once again highlighted the precarious cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. Several Saudi girls and women who have fled abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum in recent years and have returned home. Human rights activists say many of these cases have not been reported.
Alqunun had closed her Twitter account on Friday. Sophie McNeill, a reporter from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, who came into contact with Alqunun during her stay in the hotel's hotel room – and kept in touch with her – said in a Twitter post Friday that "Alqunun" is safe and sound . " 19659003] "She has just received many death threats," McNeill wrote, adding that Alqunun would be back on Twitter after a "short break".
Alqunun had previously said on Twitter that she wants to seek refuge in Australia. Foreign Minister Marise Payne met with senior Thai officials in Bangkok on Thursday. She later told reporters that Australia was reviewing Alqunun's resettlement request, but there was no specific time frame.
Meanwhile, according to the Reuters report, the way for young people to travel to Canada was paved. If she goes there, her case could add another interesting element to the back and forth between Canada and the Saudi government, a matter that has severely strained relations between the two countries.
It all started with a simple tweet last summer after Amnesty International learned that the Saudi government had arrested several human rights activists. Among the detainees was Samar Badawi, whose family members fled to Canada in 2015 and have since become Canadian citizens.
Following the arrests, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted: "Canada is meeting with the Badawi family at this difficult time. We continue to urge the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi.
The next day, the State Department of Canada requested a tweet calling on Saudi Arabia to "immediately release" Samar Badawi, as well as "all other peaceful # human rights activists. The sensitive Saudis responded quickly, calling Canada's testimony" an open one and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the kingdom. The Canadian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia has been sent home and relations have deteriorated since then.
Payne has also endeavored to attract more attention in another case. She expressed Australian concern over Thai officials over Hakeem al-Araibi, a 25-year-old former Bahrain football team member who was recognized as a refugee in 2017 after fleeing from his native Australia. There he said he had been persecuted and tortured. Al-Araibi was on vacation in Thailand last November for arresting Bahrain for an Interpol notice after being sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2014 for allegedly raping a police station – one Lawsuit he denies. Bahrain strives for extradition.
Al-Araibi's case is being investigated by Thailand's judicial system, Payne said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.