By Nicholas Keung Immigration Reporter Tues., Jan. 15, 2019 Did Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun jump the queue over other refugees when Canada quickly opened its doors to the Saudi teen who was fleeing an allegedly abusive family? Not according to Canadian immigration officials and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. While Rahaf’s plea for help on social media got her international headlines and drew the attention of the UNHCR to her plight, the emergency rescue effort was by no means unique — though the warm embrace by a foreign minister at the airport may be. According to immigration officials, some 200 people are processed under Canada’s Urgent Protection Program each year, with about 50 resettled within the rapid timelines seen in Rahaf’s case. The 18-year-old arrived in Toronto Saturday — accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland — after a tumultuous week that began with Rahaf escaping from her … [Read more...] about Did Saudi teen Rahaf Mohammed jump the queue with her speedy resettlement to Canada?
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By Thomas Walkom National Affairs Columnist Tues., Jan. 15, 2019 Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to escape the constraints of her family, her native country and her religion. She seems in that regard a very normal teen who wants what most Canadians would regard as a very normal life. But the Liberal government’s decision to grant her refugee status virtually sight unseen — in effect, letting her jump the queue — is unwise. It confirms what many critics of the refugee system have charged — that it is unfair, driven by politics and open to manipulation. Would she have made it to Canada if she had been less adept at social media? Would Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland have personally welcomed the teen at Toronto’s Pearson Airport if Mohammed, who no longer uses her family name Alqunun, were not an international media celebrity? Article Continued Below Would she be here at all if … [Read more...] about Good news for Rahaf is bad news for our refugee system
By Rosie DiManno Star Columnist Mon., Jan. 14, 2019 If the long predatory reach of Saudi extra-judicial malice can murder an internationally renowned journalist in a foreign country, what hope is there for an 18-year-old who’s embarrassed the Kingdom? Rahaf Mohammed — as of Monday, she is no longer using the family surname Alqunun — is no Jamal Khashoggi, nephew of a billionaire arms dealer, former editor in Saudi Arabia and columnist-in-exile for the Washington Post when he was assassinated by Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Oct. 2, the remains of his dismembered body never found. Yet the teenager riveted the world last week, tweeting desperately for help from a barricaded airport hotel room in Bangkok, fearing for her life, terrified that Thailand officials would cave to Saudi demands that she be put on a plane and returned to the family she’d clandestinely fled while they’d been on holiday in Kuwait. … [Read more...] about Canada is Rahaf Mohammed’s guardian now
BANGKOK: A Saudi woman being held at Bangkok airport will be sent back Monday (Jan 7), Thai authorities said, after she made a desperate plea for asylum and for other passengers to help protest her deportation.The incident comes against the backdrop of intense scrutiny of Saudi Arabia over its investigation and handling of the shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, which has renewed criticism of the kingdom's rights record.Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun told AFP she ran away from her family while travelling in Kuwait because they subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.The 18-year-old said she had planned to travel to Australia and seek asylum there, and feared she would be killed if she was repatriated by Thai immigration officials who stopped her during transit on Sunday.Thai immigration chief Surachate Hakparn said that Qunun was currently "waiting for boarding, our immigration officer and Saudi Arabian embassy officials are with her"."She bought the ticket … [Read more...] about Thailand says Saudi woman in asylum case to be sent back
BANGKOK: A Saudi woman being held at Bangkok airport on Monday (Jan 7) appealed for asylum and for other passengers to help protest her looming deportation, in desperate tweets from the hotel room where she barricaded herself.The incident comes against the backdrop of intense scrutiny of Saudi Arabia over its investigation and handling of the shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, which has renewed criticism of the kingdom's rights record.Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun told AFP she ran away from her family while travelling in Kuwait because they subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.She said she had planned to travel to Australia and seek asylum there, and feared she would be killed if she was repatriated by Thai immigration officials who stopped her during transit on Sunday.The 18-year-old said she was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti officials when she arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport and her travel document was forcibly taken from her, a claim backed by Human … [Read more...] about Saudi woman held at Bangkok airport pleads for asylum