Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada to speak publicly in Toronto today

Saul Bowman
January 18, 2019

Her resettlement was also hailed as "a victory for everyone who cares about women's rights, values youth boldly seeking change, and demands that governments operate in light and not darkness", Human Rights Watch senior researcher Sunai Phasuk said.

But in Canada, Qunun said, she has felt "reborn, especially when I felt the love and the welcome". "The same freedom I experienced on the first day I arrived in Canada". "As you know, in Saudi Arabia this is the case for all Saudi women, except for those that are fortunate enough to have understanding parents".

The incident comes after Saudi teenager Rahaf al-Qunun caused a sensation by defying her family and seeking asylum overseas, alleging abuse at the hands of her family.

"Social media may now be a tool for them", Calla said.

When asked why she had fled her homeland, Ms Alqunun replied: "I wanted to be free from abuse and depression". Saudi Arabia's guardianship laws govern many aspects of women's lives, and they may not marry, divorce, get a job, have elective surgery or travel without permission of their male guardians. "I had no say in any of this". Mohammed flew to Australia and then to Thailand, where she barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel room, opened a Twitter account and started to write.

Relatives of Rahaf al-Qunun addressed the public for the first time on Monday after al-Qunun became a viral phenomenon by documenting her attempt to flee what she said was an oppressive and brutal life with her family.

Mohammed did not share details on plans for her future in Canada, saying only that she hoped to begin establishing her own private life and would refrain from speaking to media in the near future. "Any woman who thinks of escaping or escaped will be at risk of persecution".


Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, 18, center, stands with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, as she arrives at Toronto Pearson International Airport, on Saturday, Jan.12, 2019.

She also said she is declining any more media interviews and declined to take questions. She posted that family members had threatened to kill her, that she was abused and treated like a slave. "I have not seen the threats, but she said yes, she was feeling unsafe, so we have taken those measures".

His organization gets about two urgent refugee protection cases a year. She was granted asylum in Canada on Friday.

The images of the teenager embracing her new life in Canada come as the refugee agency helping her settle in Toronto revealed it has hired a security guard amid threats to her safety. Mohammed has finished high school and wants to go to university, having expressed an interest in civil engineering, he said.

Horak, Momani and Thomas Juneau, a University of Ottawa Mideast expert, said the modest reforms enacted by the Saudi Crown Prince represented some progress despite his despotic tendencies, which including imprisoning a record number of political dissenters.

Later this week she is scheduled to meet with Trudeau, where she'll once again press him to grant Badawi Canadian citizenship.

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