An 18-year-old Saudi girl says authorities in Bangkok’s essential airport are holding her in opposition to her will and forcing her to return to her abusive household after she tried to flee over what she stated have been fears for her life.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun went viral after desperately tweeting her plight from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand, the place she says she was attempting to get on a aircraft to Australia after breaking free from her household throughout a visit to Kuwait.
Her claims have been backed up by Human Rights Watch, which stated Qunun arrived on the Bangkok airport on the night of Jan. 5 from Kuwait and was met by a consultant of the Saudi Embassy. She claims her passport was seized and she or he was prevented from touring additional to Australia, the place she stated she has a sound visa.
“Saudi ladies fleeing their households can face extreme violence from kinfolk, deprivation of liberty, and different severe hurt if returned in opposition to their will,” Michael Web page, deputy Center East director at Human Rights Watch, stated in an announcement. “Thai authorities ought to instantly halt any deportation, and both permit her to proceed her journey to Australia or allow her to stay in Thailand to hunt safety as a refugee.”
Qunun says she is 18 and that she had lately renounced Islam. Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, advised the Guardian that Qunun was escaping a wedding.
“She had no additional paperwork reminiscent of return ticket or cash,” he advised the outlet. “She ran away from her household to keep away from marriage and she or he is anxious she could also be in hassle returning to Saudi Arabia. We despatched officers to care for her now.”
Nonetheless, Qunun refuted that declare on Twitter, saying that her household was mendacity and that “this by no means occurred.” As an alternative, she has stated that she has confronted frequent bodily and psychological abuse from her household.
Surachate, who didn’t return BuzzFeed Information’ request for remark, has characterised the lady’s plight as a “household drawback,” telling the Guardian and several other different information websites that Thai authorities have contacted the Saudi Embassy to “coordinate.”
Nonetheless, Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Asia, has been contradicting the Thai account, calling it “heartless.”
“Exhausting to know #Thai Immigration’s heartless lack of concern for #Haraf al-Qunan. Commissioner ‘Massive Joke’ says it is ‘household drawback’ but when her father kills her, who takes duty for sending her into hurt’s approach & ignoring her asylum request?” he tweeted Sunday, citing the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “Everybody shall be free to depart any nation, together with his personal.”
“Very simple,” he added.
In line with HRW, Qunun’s father is a outstanding Saudi authorities official.
Beginning a bit after three a.m. Bangkok time Sunday, Qunun began frantically tweeting for the primary time, chronicling her story and repeating that she is “very afraid” and that her life is in peril. She shared pictures of her passport with the caption “as a result of I need you to know I am actual and exist” and snippets from her lodge room and the carpets of airport corridors.
“I am rahaf mohmed, formally in search of a refugee standing to any nation that may shield me from getting harmed or killed on account of leaving my faith and torture from my household,” she wrote. ” … My life is on the road.”
She is “formally asking the United Nation to assist [her] search a refugee standing or asylum to any of those nations,” itemizing Canada, the USA, Australia, and the UK as attainable locations.
In a single video, she will be heard speaking to an individual who recognized themselves as “safety,” who allegedly prevented her from leaving a lodge room on the airport, the place she says she has been staying. In a second clip, she says she has barricaded herself in that room and refuses to depart till she is ready to see the United Nations’ refugee company.
The UNHCR didn’t reply to BuzzFeed Information’ requests for remark to see in the event that they have been concerned within the scenario.
In one other tweet, she shared a screenshot from an individual whom she stated is her cousin, writing in damaged English: “I’m being threatening by my cousin that I might be slaughter [sic].”
Qunun tweeted that she is being pressured to take a Monday morning flight again to Kuwait.
In line with HRW, Qunun fled whereas in Kuwait together with her household, “which in contrast to Saudi Arabia, doesn’t require a male family member’s approval for an grownup girl to depart the nation.”
She stated that she was fleeing abuse from her household, together with beatings and loss of life threats from her male kinfolk, who additionally pressured her to stay in her room for six months for slicing her hair.
“I had been threatened to be killed earlier than and so they aren’t afraid to threaten me in public,” she stated in certainly one of her newest tweets on Jan. 6, greater than 20 hours after her ordeal started. “Do you assume this household is fashionable sufficient to set and negotiate my life’s selections? They think about me as property or their slave.”