Australia to 'consider' Saudi woman's asylum plea

Australia to 'consider' Saudi woman's asylum plea

Australia to 'consider' Saudi woman's asylum plea

Upon arriving at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Saturday night, she said she was met by a man whom she identified at various times as either a Kuwait Airways employee or a Saudi diplomat, who took her passport and said he would help her gain entry to Thailand. "My life is in danger".

Saudi Arabia's embassy in Thailand has denied that its government is seeking her extradition, Reuters news agency reports.

"We will talk to her and do whatever she requests. We did not send her back to die", he said on Facebook.

The teenager, who escaped from her family in Kuwait while they vacationed there, has said she will be killed if she was returned.

The Thai immigration chief said on Monday the embassy had alerted Thai authorities to the case, and said that the woman had run away from her parents and they feared for her safety.

"They will kill me", Qunun told Reuters.

Despite efforts by the Saudi government to curtail the scope of male guardianship laws, women who try to flee their families in Saudi Arabia have few good options inside the kingdom. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a Tuesday statement that it would look into Alqunun's case "to assess her need for global protection".

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun wrote on Twitter that she had made a decision to share her name and details because she had "nothing to lose" now.

Over the past couple of years, I have spoken with journalist friends to see if we could write about the phenomena but Saudi, the UAE and other Arab countries seem to have been given a pass by Western democracies where human rights abuses, especially against women, were concerned.

Thailand's immigration police chief says the young Saudi woman seeking passage to asylum in Australia will be temporarily admitted to Thailand for evaluation by the United Nations refugee agency.

If sent back, Qunun told AFP she would likely be imprisoned, and was "sure 100 percent" her family would kill her, she told AFP.

However, her online appeals successfully drew the attention of the UNHCR, whose representatives escorted her out of her hotel room and into their care on Monday.

The UN agency said it was "very grateful" that officials in Thailand had not deported her but her asylum claim would take "several days" to assess.

Ms Qunun told a Thai human rights worker her family kept her in her room for six months because she cut her hair. But she refused to board a flight on Monday and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room.

He was speaking after meeting Abdalelah Mohammed Alsheaiby, charge d'affaires at Saudi Arabia's embassy in Bangkok, while discussing Thailand's stance on al-Qunun's much-publicised case.

Lawyers in Thailand also filed an injunction with the Bangkok criminal court to prevent her deportation, according to Human Rights Watch's Asia Deputy Director Phil Robertson.

The airport of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, was allowed to leave now.

Over the course of the last 48 hours, Alqunun live-tweeted her attempt to not be forced back to Saudi Arabia.

The UNHCR said that according to the principle of non-refoulement, asylum seekers can not be returned to their country of origin if their life is under threat, and that it has been trying to seek access to Qunun. She said she's been physically and psychologically abused.

A statement issued Monday by the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for refugees said it sought to assess 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun's "need for worldwide refugee protection and find an immediate solution for her situation". According to rights groups, this can trap women and girls who have abusive families.

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