Australia defends handling of asylum request as Saudi teen heads to Canada

Rahaf Al-Qunun still left Bangkok for Toronto on Friday following a working day of confusion in excess of wherever she would be resettled. Canadian Key Minister Justin Trudeau later informed reporters his nation had approved the ask for built by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Australian Immigration Minister David Coleman claimed in a statement Saturday that Australia had continue to been thinking of the 18-yr-old’s asylum assert.

“The safety of Ms. Al-Qunun has often been the Australian government’s principal issue, and we have been doing work with the UNHCR and international associates to assure her claim is assessed correctly,” he stated.

“At the time of the UNHCR’s referral to Canada on January 11, the assessment of Ms. Al-Qunun’s scenario by Australian officers was progressing.”

Thailand’s immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn had at first instructed CNN on Friday that Qunun had been offered asylum by each Australia and Canada. But he later requested that the assertion be retracted.

“Australia has one particular of the most generous humanitarian applications in the earth, and all applications are regarded in accordance with Australian regulation and methods,” Coleman’s assertion mentioned. “We wish Ms Al-Qunun all the ideal for her foreseeable future in Canada.”

Thai immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn speaks to journalists Friday about Qunun's case at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

Teenager feared her family members would eliminate her

Qunun experienced flown to Thailand from Kuwait to escape her household, saying she feared they would eliminate her since she renounced Islam. She had supposed to fly on to Australia, but barricaded herself in a resort area in Bangkok’s key airport on Sunday immediately after Thai immigration officials tried to deport her again to the Center East.

Qunun and her supporters drew world focus to her circumstance by a social media marketing campaign introduced primarily on Twitter. She documented her arrival and subsequent detention in Bangkok on her smartphone, building new Twitter and Periscope accounts in which she received a deluge of supportive messages.

In response to the media campaign, Thai authorities authorized Qunun obtain to the UNHCR and did not deport her to Kuwait.

The Twitter account utilized by Qunun during her attractiveness for asylum was quickly deactivated Friday but she later on reappeared on-line, submitting photographs from an airplane seat of what appeared to be her Saudi passport and boarding go.

“3rd country,” she reported, in a reference to resettlement in Canada. “I did it.”

She also thanked the supporters she explained experienced saved her everyday living. “Genuinely I have never dreamed of this appreciate and guidance. You are the spark that would inspire me to be a greater individual,” she stated.

It is not an automatic correct for refugees to be resettled and much less than 1% of the millions of registered refugees globally had been resettled in 2017, in accordance to the UNHCR.

The system is frequently assessed on the urgency of a refugee’s individual requirements, with the most susceptible — these types of as gals at danger — prioritized. Refugees can wait from nine months to numerous decades to listen to an reply — for a longer time if they appeal a refusal. Some can wait their full lives for a third region to accept them.

UNHCR welcomed Canada’s determination to “deliver worldwide security and a lengthy-term solution” for Qunun as a resettled refugee.

“The swift steps over the earlier 7 days of the Authorities of Thailand in giving momentary refuge and facilitating refugee status determination by UNHCR, and of the Governing administration of Canada in giving unexpected emergency resettlement to Ms. al-Qunun and arranging her vacation were vital to the effective resolution of this case,” the agency said in a statement.

Qunun’s case was dealt with on a rapid-observe “crisis” foundation in light of the urgency of her condition, the UNHCR reported.

UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi claimed the Saudi teenager’s plight had highlighted the precarious situation confronted by millions of refugees worldwide.

“Refugee protection now is normally below danger and are unable to generally be certain, but in this occasion intercontinental refugee law and overriding values of humanity have prevailed,” he reported.

Thai official: ‘She has determination’

Qunun’s story has also set Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship technique, which restricts a lot of factors of women’s lives, back again below international scrutiny. Below the system, females must receive authorization from a male guardian — who could be their father, partner, brother or son — to vacation, marry, and often to work or entry wellness care.

Hakparn, the Thai immigration formal, stated Qunun had ongoing to refuse to meet up with with her father and brother right before leaving Thailand. The pair planned to depart Bangkok early Saturday, he said.

“This incident will conclude listed here for Thailand,” he claimed. Hakparn described the scenario as an “interior relatives difficulty” but added that since Qunun experienced “escaped her hardship to a greater place, Thailand inevitably had to receive her in accordance to human legal rights, humanity and rule of regulation.”

Qunun experienced thanked the Thai authorities for their support before leaving and had been given a well being verify, Hakparn said.

“She said that as quickly as she arrives in Canada, the 1st point she will do is to master the language. She has determination,” he stated.

“She is secure, and she is in excellent health, and good psychological well being. She looks satisfied.”

CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report.

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