Rahaf Al-Qunun was granted asylum in Canada after Australia was moving too slow in processing her request for asylum
The teenager was granted safe haven in Canada and landed in Toronto on Saturday. Ms. Al-Qunun stated she went to the Australian embassy in Bangkok on Wednesday, but by Friday her case was still being processed.
With concern over her security and no exact time frame for how long it would take for Australia to process the request, UNHCR referred her case to Canada and was processed within hours.
Her case is widely known due to the fact that at the beginning of the month when she fled from Kuwait to Thailand wanting to go to Australia and get asylum, fearing abuse from her family, she took to Twitter. When she arrived in Bangkok, Saudi representatives were waiting on her and they confiscated her passport.
She then barricaded herself in her hotel room and after the media coverage, she got her refugee status from the UN and was awaiting asylum from Australia, instead she got it from Canada because Australian officials were moving too slow processing her request.
Regarding this, the Australian director of Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson stated “The Canadian government seemed to appreciate the urgency of this case, while Australian officials did not – for whatever reason, Australia was moving too slowly in processing UNHCR’s request.”
Ms. Al-Qunun gave her first interview since leaving Bangkok and said “I wanted to be free from oppression and depression. I wanted to be independent. I wouldn’t have been able to marry the person I wanted. I couldn’t get a job without permission.”