Saudi Teen Safe in Thailand, For Now

Teen Locks Herself in Room After Fleeing Allegedly Abusive Family

Teen Locks Herself in Room After Fleeing Allegedly Abusive Family

She will be subject to Australian checks before she is granted a humanitarian visa, including character and security assessments.

"The UNHCR has referred Ms Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun to Australia for consideration for refugee resettlement", Australia's Department of Home Affairs said in an emailed statement.

Robertson told CBC's As it Happens that the 18-year old was confined to her room for nearly six months.

Her ordeal at the Bangkok airport riveted social media as she posted videos and constantly updated her followers while barricading herself in her hotel room.

Her father and brother arrived in Bangkok yesterday, but Ms Qunun "refused to see" them, according to Thai immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn, who has been caught up in the global firestorm since Qunun's arrival.

The Saudi government has denied claims it sent officials to bring Ms Alqunun back to the kingdom.

Activists are concerned about what Saudi Arabia will do after Thai authorities reversed a decision to expel her and allowed Qunun to enter the country under the care of the UNHCR.

After a day of insisting that Ms Qunun must be sent back under Thai law, Mr Surachate said she would not be immediately expelled since she could be in danger and he would meet United Nations officials to discuss her case.

"When it became clear that she wasn't going to leave, I decided it was important to stay and have someone documenting what was going on", Ms McNeill said. "She is 18 years old, she has an Australian visa, and she has the right to travel where she wishes and no government should interfere in that".

Al-Qunun has alleged many times that Saudi officials were involved in the seizure of her passport. She also gave access to her social media account to her friend Noura, who also fled Saudi Arabia because she renounced Islam. Alqunun says she is fleeing abuse by her family and wants asylum in Australia.

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The UNHCR said on Tuesday that it would take time to process Ms Qunun's application, and its officials continued to interview her at an undisclosed location.

"We are very grateful that the Thai authorities did not send back (Qunun) against her will and are extending protection to her", he said.

"Yesterday, they [social media supporters] made the difference in Rahaf's life", she said.

Alqunun said her male guardian had reported her for travelling "without his permission".

In a separate statement to Australia's The New Daily, the government said it is making a representation to the Thai government and UNHCR's office in Bangkok to assess Alqunun's claim "expeditiously".

A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Babar Baloch, said at its Geneva headquarters that it could take several days for the agency to look into Qunun's claims.

Thailand is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and provides no legal protection to asylum seekers, although there are more than 100,000 refugees in the country.

Although Canadian officials said diplomats routinely raise human rights issues with their Saudi counterparts, the Saudi government reacted strongly to the public appeal and retaliated by freezing new trade, recalling its students from Canada and cancelling flights between the two countries. Once, she said, her family locked her up in a room for half a year because she cut her hair in a style they disliked.

The immigration police released photos of Surachate and his team sitting down with Saudi embassy charge d'affaires Abdalelah Mohammed Alsheaiby.

But she was stopped en route by authorities in Thailand at the request of the Saudi government, which demanded the woman return to her family.

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