Australia considering resettlement for Saudi woman
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 1/09/19, 10:21 am
The Australian government on Wednesday said it would assess the case of a Saudi woman who fled from her family, now that she has received refugee status from the United Nations. The Department of Home Affairs confirmed in a statement that the UN high commissioner for refugees referred 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to Australia and said the country was considering the case “in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals.”
Alqunun arrived Saturday in Bangkok, Thailand, on a flight from Kuwait and planned to continue on to Australia. She was detained and shared her ordeal on Twitter. Thai authorities said she refused to board a return flight to Kuwait and barricaded herself in an airport hotel room. Alqunun said she faced abuse back home and feared her family would kill her for renouncing Islam if she returned. Thai Immigration Police Chief Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn said Alqunun’s father and brother arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday, but she refused to meet with them. Alqunun’s father denied physically abusing her or trying to force her into an arranged marriage, which were among the reasons she gave for her flight, Hakparn said. The father, whose name was not released and who was not seen by reporters, said he wants his daughter back but respects her decision.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.