Canada will grant asylum to an 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled to Thailand to escape her allegedly abusive family, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sai
Canada will grant asylum to an 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled to Thailand to escape her allegedly abusive family, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
Rahaf Al-Qunun will head to Toronto, with a stopover in Seoul, said Thailand’s Immigration Police Chief Surachate Hakparn.
She boarded a Korean Airlines plane in Bangkok.Trudeau told reporters in Saskatchewan that his nation accepted the request made by United Nations officials.
The news followed confusion earlier in the day over where the teenager would be resettled.
Hakparn initially told CNN that Qunun had been offered asylum by both Australia and Canada.
But he later requested that the statement be retracted.Adding to the sense of uncertainty surrounding the case, the Twitter account used by Qunun throughout her appeal for asylum was deactivated.
ABC reporter Sophie McNeill tweeted Friday that Qunun was “safe and fine” but had been “receiving a lot of death threats.
She will be back on Twitter but for now she’s apparently having a short break.”
Qunun and her supporters drew global attention to her case through a social media campaign launched mostly on Twitter.
She documented her arrival and subsequent detention in Bangkok on her smartphone, creating new Twitter and Periscope accounts where she received a deluge of supportive messages.
Her story has also put Saudi Arabia’s guardianship laws, which restrict many aspects of women’s lives, back under international scrutiny. In response to the media campaign, Thai authorities allowed Qunun access to the UNHCR and did not deport her to Kuwait.
Her online campaign was so successful that Saudi chargé d’affaires Abdalelah Mohammed A. al-Shuaibi told Thai officials through a translator: “We wish they had confiscated her phone instead of her passport.
“Qunun later tweeted the video of that meeting and wrote that her “Twitter account has changed the game against what he wished for me.”