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Saudi Teen Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun Who Welcomed As Brave Canadian In Toronto



Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun arrives at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada

TORONTO:

An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family this week saying she feared for her life arrived in Toronto's international airport on Saturday after Canada granted her asylum, where Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland welcomed her as a new Canadian

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun grabbed international attention this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family, which denies any abuse. Qunun refused to meet her father and brother, who arrived in Bangkok to take her back to Saudi Arabia.

Qunun arrived at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Saturday morning, smiling and wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the word Canada in red, and a blue UNHCR cap.

Freeland, who received Qunun at the airport, duty reporters that is "a very good new Canadian."

"Wanted Canadians to see that she has arrived at her new home," Freeland customs reporters. "But she had a very long and tiring journey and so would prefer not to take questions today. And she is now going to go to her new home." [QununwavedtoreportersasshewalkedoutintotheinternationalarrivalsareabutdidnotspeaktothemediaAfterabriefappearanceshewastakenbacktotheairportterminal

Qunun, who had initially intended to seek asylum in Australia, chose Canada because Australia took too long assessment whether to grant her asylum.

"(Australia ) takes too long. That's why I went to Canada, "she told Reuters in a direct message before boarding her flight to Toronto. Qunun took a Korean Air flight from Bangkok to Seoul on Friday and then a connecting flight to Toronto.

Her case has drawn global attention to Saudi Arabia's strict social rules, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male "guardian" to travel, which rights groups say can women and girls as prisoners of abusive families.

Qunun arrived in Bangkok a week ago and was initially denied entry. But she started posting messages on the transit area of ​​Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport saying she had "escaped Kuwait" and her life would be in danger if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

Within hours, a campaign ran up dubbed # SaveRahaf, spread on Twitter by a loose network of activists.

Following a 48-hour stand-off at Bangkok airport, some of it barricaded in a transit lounge hotel room, she was allowed to enter the country and has been processed as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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