Asylum-Seeking Saudi Teen Avoids Deportation from Thailand After Int’l Outcry

HeadlineJan 08, 2019
H4 rahaf

In Thailand, a Saudi teenager who says she is fleeing her abusive family has been permitted to temporarily remain in the country. Eighteen-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun landed in Thailand over the weekend on her way to Australia, where she planned to request asylum. Saudi and Thai officials initially said the teenager would be sent back to Kuwait, where her family is. She reportedly had her passport confiscated by Saudi agents before being brought to a guarded hotel room. On Monday, al-Qunun barricaded herself inside the room, where she chronicled her ordeal on Twitter and demanded to speak with U.N. refugee agency officials. Al-Qunun left the hotel room later in the day after meeting with U.N. representatives and receiving assurances she would not be deported. Michael Page of Human Rights Watch said of her case, “Apparently, Saudi authorities not only want to perpetuate systematic discrimination of women at home and prevent Saudi women from freely traveling abroad, but also ensure that those who manage to escape are forced back to a life of abuse.”

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