United Nations says Saudi teen is refugee, Australia to consider settlement

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However, Alqunun said on Twitter that she feared for her life if she would return to Saudi Arabia, where she had originally fled from her family.

Thailand initially said it would deport her at the request of Saudi embassy officials, barring her from travelling on to Australia where Ms Qunun said she had meant to claim asylum.

At 3.30pm on Monday, Thailand's immigration chief Surachate Hakparn held a press conference at the airport for dozens of Thai and worldwide media representatives gathered in the transit area.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees granted refugee status to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, on Wednesday. "I think this will be fair to both sides", he said.

"The UNHCR has referred Ms Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun to Australia for consideration for refugee resettlement", Australia's Department of Home Affairs confirmed in a statement.

The decision was a matter for Immigration Minister David Coleman, Mr Dutton said. An application for a humanitarian visa "will be carefully considered once the UNHCR process has concluded".

"When she arrived, she open a new (Twitter) account and her followers grew to 45,000 in one day", he said in Arabic.

So far, family members don't appear to have commented publicly on the allegations of abuse.

The department relies on referrals from organizations such as the UN's refugee agency to decide who can be resettled in Canada.

According to Thailand's immigration police chief, Maj.

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Al-Qunun was detained on arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport during transit while en route to Australia.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not asked for her extradition".

"Just two days ago, she was barricaded in a hotel room fighting for her life", Phil Robertson, deputy director for Human Rights Watch's Asia Division, said from Bangkok. "I would hope that, once her claim has been assessed, the Australian government will act quickly to get her out of Thailand and to safety".

"We have no idea what he is going to do. whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her". Thai authorities eventually vowed not to expel Rahaf.

The laws should increase the penalty for airlines whose staff did not check required documents including a return ticket for a passenger.

She is required to obtain their approval to apply for a passport, travel outside the country, study overseas on a government scholarship, get married, leave prison, or even exit a shelter for abuse victims. -Gen. Surachate Hakparn, said to reporters Tuesday that Saudi diplomats told him they are satisfied with how her case had been handled. "They kept telling me they will kill me if I do something wrong-they say that since I was a child".

Alqunun's case is similar to that of Dina Ali Lasloom, a young Saudi woman who fled to the Philippines from Kuwait in 2017. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a Tuesday statement that it would look into Alqunun's case "to assess her need for global protection".

Speaking to Reuters via text and audio messages she alleged her family had threatened to kill her.

Saudi Arabia's charge d'affaires in Bangkok, Abdalelah al-Sheaibi, was stone-faced as he discussed his government's displeasure with the limelight in a meeting with Thai officials. "Please help me." Instead, she was reportedly "dragged onto a plane from Manila to Riyadh with her mouth taped shut and her arms and legs bound".