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Saudi youngster who fled circle of relatives welcomed as ‘courageous new Canadian’ in Toronto

TORONTO (Reuters) – An 18-year-old Saudi lady who fled her circle of relatives this week announcing she feared for her lifestyles arrived in Toronto’s global airport on Saturday after being granted asylum in Canada, the place International Minister Chrystia Freeland welcomed her as a courageous new Canadian.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun grabbed global consideration this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport lodge room to withstand being despatched house to her circle of relatives, which denies any abuse. Qunun refused to satisfy her father and brother, who arrived in Bangkok to check out to take her again to Saudi Arabia.

Qunun arrived at Toronto’s Pearson Global Airport on Saturday morning, dressed in a hoodie emblazoned with the phrase Canada in crimson, and a blue cap with the emblem of the United Countries Prime Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has granted her refugee standing.

In her final tweet prior to leaving for Toronto, Qunun stated, “I did it,” and posted footage from inside of an aircraft.

Freeland, who gained Qunun on the airport, instructed newshounds that Qunun is “an overly courageous new Canadian.”

“Rahaf sought after Canadians to peer that she has arrived at her new house,” Freeland instructed newshounds. “However she had an overly lengthy and tiring adventure and so would like to not take questions nowadays. And he or she is now going to visit her new house.”

A smiling Qunun waved to newshounds as she walked out into the global arrivals space however didn’t discuss to the media. After a short lived look, she was once taken again into the airport terminal.

Canada’s determination to grant asylum to Qunun comes at a refined time. Members of the family between Ottawa and Riyadh had been anxious after Canada demanded the fast unlock of jailed rights activists final yr, infuriating Saudi Arabia who retaliated by way of freezing new business with Ottawa.

Qunun, who had to begin with supposed to hunt asylum in Australia, selected Canada as an alternative as a result of Australia took too lengthy assessing whether or not to grant her asylum.

“(Australia) takes too lengthy. That’s why I went to Canada,” she instructed Reuters in an instantaneous message prior to boarding her flight to Toronto. Qunun took a Korean Air flight from Bangkok to Seoul on Friday after which a connecting flight to Toronto.

Her case has drawn world consideration to Saudi Arabia’s strict social regulations, together with a demand that girls have the permission of a male “parent” to commute, which rights teams say can entice girls and women as prisoners of abusive households.

Slideshow (10 Pictures)

Qunun arrived in Bangkok every week in the past and was once to begin with denied access. However she quickly began posting messages on Twitter from the transit space of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport announcing she had “escaped Kuwait” and her lifestyles could be at risk if compelled to go back to Saudi Arabia.

Inside of hours, a marketing campaign sprang up dubbed #SaveRahaf, unfold on Twitter by way of a unfastened community of activists.

Following a 48-hour stand-off at Bangkok airport, a few of it barricaded in a transit front room lodge room, she was once allowed to go into the rustic and was once processed as a refugee by way of the UNHCR.

Further reporting by way of Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Writing by way of Denny Thomas; Enhancing by way of Chizu Nomiyama


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