Canada has granted asylum to the 18-year-old Saudi woman who barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel room after escaping what she called abuse…
Canada has granted asylum to the 18-year-old Saudi woman who barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel room after escaping what she called abuse and oppression by family members.
“The UNHCR has made a request of Canada that we accept Ms. Alqunun as a refugee, and we have accepted the U. N.’s request that we grant her asylum,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Friday, referring to the office of the U. N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun has boarded a plane in Bangkok and was expected to fly to Canada, Thai immigration police told The Associated Press on Friday. Australia had said it was considering whether to offer her asylum, but a UNHCR spokesman hinted in an email to NPR that Ottawa moved more quickly.
“When referring cases with specific vulnerabilities who need immediate resettlement, we attach great importance to the speed at which countries consider and process cases,” Babar Baloch wrote.
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. She landed Saturday and planned to fly from there to Australia.
In Bangkok, Thai agents stopped Alqunun at the airport and seized her passport. Alqunun hid in a transit lounge hotel room and began tweeting in Arabic about her plight.
“I’m the girl who ran away to Thailand.

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