Activists call on Australia to accept fleeing Saudi woman

The 18-year-old said she had a visa to continue to Australia, but media reports say the Australian government has now cancelled it. Australian officials have not responded to multiple requests for comment.

8 January 2019 | 08:56

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 8 January 2019 | 08:56

In this photo released by the Immigration Police, Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right talks to Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun,second left, before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. (AP Photo)

BANGKOK: Human Rights Watch has called on the Australian government to allow entry to a Saudi Arabian woman who’s being processed by UN refugee authorities in Thailand after fleeing her homeland.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun was detained after arriving in Bangkok on Saturday, but has come under the protection of the UN’s refugee agency after refusing to return home.

The 18-year-old said she had a visa to continue to Australia, but media reports say the Australian government has now cancelled it. Australian officials have not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Human Rights Watch’s Australian director Elaine Pearson says since Australia has expressed concern in the past about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, it should “come forward and offer protection for this young woman.”


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