Who is Rahaf al-Qunun, why is her life in danger?

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Thailand's immigration police chief met Tuesday with officials from the Saudi Embassy in Bangkok, as Saudi Arabia tried to distance itself from accusations that it tried to block a young woman's effort to flee her family and seek asylum overseas.

Ms al-Qunun's case has captivated the world after she was detained by Saudi authorities at Bangkok airport, where she was planning to travel to Australia to seek asylum.

"Any application by Ms al-Qunun for a humanitarian visa will be carefully considered once the UNHCR process has concluded", a Department of Home Affairs official told AFP news agency.

The 18-year-old claims she was abducted and had her passport confiscated by Saudi Arabian diplomatic staff after she arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sunday.

Thai immigration officials had initially said she should return to Kuwait.

Al-Qunun then barricaded herself inside an airport's hotel room, refusing to come out until she was granted a meeting with United Nations officials.

Her urgent pleas for help over Twitter from an airport hotel room garnered tens of thousands of followers and the attention of the UN's refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter.

"We have no idea what he is going to do. whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her".

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun's twitter account later quoted a Saudi diplomat in Bangkok saying it would have been better to take her phone than her passport.

In 2017, Dina Ali Lasloom triggered a firestorm online when she was stopped en route to Australia, where she planned to seek asylum.

"The decision to meet with the family is ultimately Ms. Al Qunun's and the responsibility for her safety and physical protection lies with the Thai authorities", UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told NPR.

She was finally allowed to enter Thailand late on Monday after spending 48 hours at Bangkok airport, some of it barricaded in a transit lounge hotel room.

"Her time in Thailand is uncertain and while it's positive that she has access to UNHCR and her case is being reviewed, we know that the Thai authorities have kept other individuals and those who've sought asylum in reprimand, in detention, waiting for long periods of time to be granted asylum", she said.

Qunun was detained on arrival at Bangkok and denied entry to Thailand while en route to Australia, where she said she meant to seek asylum.

"The father and brother want to go and talk to Rahaf but the United Nations will need to approve such talk", Surachate told reporters. The UNHCR is now evaluating her asylum claim, which is expected to take up to a week. "Thailand is a land of smiles".

She made her escape during a family trip to Kuwait, where she purchased flights to Thailand and Australia.

The UNHCR has now assessed her case and found she is a refugee. "She was unhappy having to wear the hijab and being forced to pray", he added.

While there has been a groundswell of support for Qunun to be granted refugee status and resettled in Australia, Peter Dutton, a hardliner in Australia's conservative government, said: "There is no special circumstance for anybody in this situation".

Saudi Arabia's human rights record has come under intense scrutiny since the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in October.

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