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Saudi woman fleeing alleged abuse heads for asylum in Canada

2019-01-11 19:54
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Friday (January 11) Canada has granted asylum to Saudi teen who feared her family would kill her. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18 arrived in Bangkok on Saturday and was initially denied entry but after a tense 48-hour stand-off at Bangkok airport, some of it barricaded in a transit lounge hotel room, she was allowed to enter the country and has been processed as a refugee by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Qunun has accused her family of abuse, and has refused to meet her father and brother who arrived in Bangkok to try take her back to Saudi Arabia. Her case has drawn global attention to Saudi Arabia's strict social rules, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male "guardian" to travel, which rights groups say can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families. Qunun's plight has emerged at a time when Riyadh is facing unusually intense scrutiny from its Western allies over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Instanbul in October and over the humanitarian consequences of ts war in Yemen.