#Canada #Asylum #UNHCR #SaudiTeen #SaudiTeenRights; #justinTrudeau; #RahafMohammedal-Qunun
Toronto, Jan 13 (Canadian-Media): An 18-year-old Saudi teen, Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq Alqunun, who fled her family in Kuwait before her passport was taken away at the Bangkok airport on Sunday, was given her new home, said Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister yesterday, media reports said.
Chrystia Freeland. Image credit: Official
Alqunun said her father physically abused her and tried to force her into an arranged marriage.
“I’m the girl who ran away to Thailand. I’m now in real danger because the Saudi Embassy is trying to force me to return,” said an English translation of one of her first posts to Twitter. Alqunun also wrote that she was afraid and that her family would kill her if she were returned home.
Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister had reportedly announced Friday that the federal government had agreed to United Nations High Commissionner for Refugees (UNHCR)'s request to allow Alqunun to settle in Canada.
“That is something that we are pleased to do because Canada is a country that understands how important it is to stand up for human rights, to stand up for women’s rights around the world,” Trudeau said.
The world’s attention had been captured by Alqunun’s plight, said UNHCR, and provided a glimpse into the situation of refugees worldwide.
Although it was reportedly feared that Canada's humanitarian move would heighten tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia, but Trudeau was undaunted by the negative results his move could bring, repeating that Canada stands up for human rights regardless of diplomatic consequences.
“This is part of a long tradition of Canada engaging constructively and positively in the world and working with our partners, allies and with the United Nations,” he said.
Reporting by Asha Bajaj