Saudi teenager who has fled the kingdom believes that she will inspire more women to escape from her homeland
The 18-year-old Saudi girl who has fled the kingdom after rejecting strict Islamic laws has said that she hopes that her experience would inspire other women to do the same.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun arrived in Toronto on Saturday after Canada granted asylum on the advice of the United Nations refugee agency.
Ms. Al-Qunun today talked about finally & # 39; free & # 39; are of abuse and oppression by both the Saudi government and her own family, but admitted that her parents who announced that they had rejected her had upset her.
Brave: Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun (18) said he finally & # 39; free & # 39; was of abuse by both the Saudi state and her family after being granted asylum by Canada
& # 39; How could my family deny me simply because I wanted to be independent and wanted to escape their abuse? It really upset me, "Al-Qunun said.
When asked why she had fled her homeland, Al-Qunun answered: "I wanted to be free of abuse and depression.
& # 39; I wanted to be independent. I would not be able to marry the person I wanted. I could not get a job without permission. & # 39;
Ms Al-Qunun says that her situation has highlighted the cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia, where several women who abuse their families have been caught trying to claim asylum abroad and have returned home in recent years. .
"I think the number of women fleeing and abusing the Saudi government will increase, especially as there is no system to stop them," Al Qunun told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview today.
Al-Qunun said in an Australian television interview that she expected her experience to inspire other women to flee her homeland
Before: The teenager, pictured with her 12-year-old sister, said that it had upset her that her family had announced that she had rejected her, simply because I wanted to escape their abuse & # 39;
Safe arrival: the teenager arrived in Canada this weekend after she had fled her home country earlier this month – reportedly to escape from her violent family
I am sure that many more women are running away. I hope my story encourages other women to be brave and free.
I hope my story causes a change in law, especially because it is exposed to the world. This could be the agent for change, "she added.
Ms. al-Qunun said that she & # 39; s like when I was born again & # 39; felt when she was met on Saturday by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland at Toronto Airport.
& # 39; It was something amazing. There was a lot of love and hospitality, especially when the minister welcomed me and told me that I was in a safe country and had all my rights, "Alqunun said.
In a separate interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said she was arriving in her new homeland & # 39;worth the risk that I took. & # 39;
I felt that I could not reach my dreams that I wanted, as long as I lived in Saudi Arabia. & # 39;
New style: Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, has started to adapt to life in Canada after he has been granted asylum, with a photo showing her all bundled up in a winter coat and a wool hat
Ms. al-Qunun, accompanied by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on the right, and Saba Abbas, general counselor of COSTI refugee service, left, arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario
Mrs. Al-Qunun walks through sliding doors while she stands out beside officials at Toronto Pearson
From her personal Twitter account al-Qunun thanked everyone for their support, saying that she had never dreamed of this love before.
Al-Qunun shared photo's with Twitter of her flight to Toronto, and let her relax in first class with wine and her legs up
In her new house: I will try things I have not tried. I will learn things that I have not learned. I will examine life. … I will have a job and live a normal life. & # 39;
Mrs. al-Qunun is the daughter of a Saudi governor and has nine brothers and sisters. She used a loophole in the hard law of the state to travel unaccompanied to Kuwait.
From there she bought a ticket to Bangkok and hoped she would seek asylum in Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom or any nation would protect her from injury or death by her family & # 39 ;.
Instead, her passport was confiscated by a Saudi diplomat and she was forced to lock herself into an apartment space.
Canada is now the new home for Saudi refugee Ms. Al-Qunun (photo) after Canada has responded to a UNHCR request
Ms. al-Qunun (photo) reacted earlier to news Australia is considering granting her asylum and says: & # 39; Is it true ??? Australia wants me to go there ??? I am so happy & # 39;
The 18-year-old was detained in Thailand after her arrival in the country. She is depicted as having barricaded herself in an airport hotel room to prevent her being deported
She says she spent months planning her escape before implementing her dangerous plan on January 5th.
She barricaded herself in an airport hotel room, where her social media campaign received enough public and diplomatic support that Thai officials temporarily admitted to her under the protection of US officials who granted her refugee status on Wednesday.
Several other countries, including Australia, had been in talks with the U.N refugee office. to accept Ms. Al-Qunun before she flew to Canada.
Australian media reported that the UNHCR had withdrawn its referral for Ms al-Qunun to be resettled in Australia because it took too long before Canberra decided to apply for asylum.
UNHCR spokeswoman Lauren La Rose said that the fact that she was processed so quickly is a praise for those who have succeeded.
& # 39; This is someone who was clearly in danger, who clearly felt threatened with her life, and my colleagues in consultation with governments in Thailand and Canada recognized that need, & # 39; she said.