Australia says no timeframe to decide case of Saudi teen asylum seeker

Whatapp News

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne

Bangkok    –      Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday said there was no time-frame for the assessment of the case of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi woman who fled to Thailand.

Qunun claimed she feared her family would kill her.

The UN refugee agency has referred Qunun to Australia for consideration for refugee resettlement.

“Following the UNHCR referrals, Australia is now going through the steps we are required to do in relation to the assessment process.

“Then when that is complete an announcement will be made,” Payne said in Bangkok, after arriving on a visit arranged before Qunun sought asylum.

Report says Qunun is staying in a Bangkok hotel under the care of the UNHCR.

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She arrived in Thailand on Saturday and was initially denied entry, though she had been intending to fly from there to Australia to seek asylum.

She soon started posting messages on Twitter from the transit area of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport saying she had “escaped Kuwait” and her life would be in danger if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

Within hours, a campaign sprang up, spread by a loose network of online activists, and the world watched as she refused to board a flight to Saudi Arabia and barricade herself inside a transit lounge hotel room.

On Monday, Thai authorities allowed her to enter the country.

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Her case has drawn attention to Saudi Arabia’s strict social rules, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male “guardian” to travel, which rights groups say can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families.

It came 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 Istanbul in October.

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