Saudi teen who fled family welcomed as ‘courageous new Canadian’ in Toronto
TORONTO (Reuters) – An 18-year-old Saudi girl who fled her family this week announcing she feared for her lifestyles arrived in Toronto’s global airport on Saturday after being granted asylum in Canada, the place Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland welcomed her as a courageous new Canadian.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun arrives at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada January 12, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun grabbed global consideration this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport resort room to withstand being despatched house to her family, which denies any abuse. Qunun refused to satisfy her father and brother, who arrived in Bangkok to check out to take her again to Saudi Arabia.
Qunun arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Saturday morning, dressed in a hoodie emblazoned with the phrase Canada in purple, and a blue cap with the brand of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has granted her refugee standing.
In her remaining tweet prior to leaving for Toronto, Qunun mentioned, “I did it,” and posted footage from inside of an aircraft.
Freeland, who gained Qunun on the airport, advised newshounds that Qunun is “a very brave new Canadian.”
“Rahaf wanted Canadians to see that she has arrived at her new home,” Freeland advised newshounds. “But she had a very long and tiring journey and so would prefer not to take questions today. And she is now going to go to her new home.”
A smiling Qunun waved to newshounds as she walked out into the global arrivals house however didn’t discuss to the media. After a temporary look, she used to be taken again into the airport terminal.
Canada’s resolution to grant asylum to Qunun comes at a subtle time. Relations between Ottawa and Riyadh had been nerve-racking after Canada demanded the rapid unencumber of jailed rights activists remaining yr, infuriating Saudi Arabia who retaliated via freezing new business with Ottawa.
Qunun, who had first of all meant to hunt asylum in Australia, selected Canada as a substitute as a result of Australia took too lengthy assessing whether or not to grant her asylum.
“(Australia) takes too long. That’s why I went to Canada,” she advised Reuters in an instantaneous message prior to boarding her flight to Toronto. Qunun took a Korean Air flight from Bangkok to Seoul on Friday after which a connecting flight to Toronto.
Her case has drawn international consideration to Saudi Arabia’s strict social regulations, together with a demand that ladies have the permission of a male “guardian” to trip, which rights teams say can lure girls and women as prisoners of abusive households.
Qunun arrived in Bangkok every week in the past and used to be first of all denied access. But she quickly began posting messages on Twitter from the transit house of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport announcing she had “escaped Kuwait” and her lifestyles can be in risk if compelled to go back to Saudi Arabia.
Within hours, a marketing campaign sprang up dubbed #SaveRahaf, unfold on Twitter via a unfastened community of activists.
Following a 48-hour stand-off at Bangkok airport, a few of it barricaded in a transit living room resort room, she used to be allowed to go into the rustic and used to be processed as a refugee via the UNHCR.
Additional reporting via Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Writing via Denny Thomas; Editing via Chizu Nomiyama