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Canada grants asylum to Saudi teen fleeing alleged abuse

Canada grants asylum to Saudi teen fleeing alleged abuse

The woman - in a widely followed social media campaign - had said she had "escaped Kuwait" and her life would have been in danger if Thailand had deported her back to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Araibi was granted permanent residency by the Australian government in recognition of his status as a refugee, she said.

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok said it "did not demand her deportation" and that the case is "a family affair".

The human rights group Amnesty International said yesterday it welcomed the decision by UNHCR to grant refugee status to the teenage Saudi runaway.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters: "Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world".

"We're pleased the UNHCR process concluded so quickly and that Ms Mohammed Al-Qunun has been offered asylum", Shayne Neumann, Labor's immigration and border protection spokesman, said.

"Refugee protection today is often under threat and can not always be assured, but in this instance worldwide refugee law and overriding values of humanity have prevailed".

The fast-moving developments capped an eventful week for Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun.

Alqunun had been on vacation with her family in Kuwait earlier this month when she ran away and took a flight to Bangkok, NPR reports.

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The Saudi woman who fled to Thailand has been permitted asylum in Canada.

Marise Payne, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday she raised her concerns over his continued detention with the Thai authorities during her trip to the country.

Human rights campaigners say many similar cases have gone unreported.

Payne said in her statement that she will raise his case with the Thai government to find ways for his safe return to Australia.

Her Twitter account gained more than 100,000 followers over six days but the teenager reportedly suspended her profile on Friday after receiving "some very nasty, very real death threats". She was seen briefly, being escorted to the departure gate by United Nations officials.

Refugees can wait their whole lives for a third country to accept them.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted Alqunon to choose Canada over Australia. She landed Saturday and planned to fly from there to Australia.

Qunun's flight 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 its war in Yemen.

Social media user Jawhrah said the message resonated with her. "I can't study and work in my country, so I want to be free and study and work as I want".

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She has also denounced Islam and cut her hair.

She refused to meet with them.

Alqunun had previously said on Twitter that she wanted to seek refuge in Australia.

Has anything like this happened before?

On Wednesday, Australia said it would consider taking Qunun in.

"I know there is a lot of love all over the world for her and you can all tell her that when she's back online".

Rahaf is an inspiration.

Some freedoms have been granted under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who ended a ban on women driving, eased restrictions on gender mixing, and championed firsts such as allowing women to serve in the armed forces.

What we are going through is bad.

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