Saudi Asylum Seeker to Leave for Canada Friday Night: Thai Immigration Chief

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne will be meeting senior officials in Thailand

Alqunun, from Hail in northwestern Saudi Arabia, said she feared she may have been killed if forced to return to her family. The attention prompted Thai immigration authorities to reverse their earlier decision to send her back to Saudi Arabia.

She quickly amassed tens of thousands of followers with a #SaveRahaf hashtag that went viral and saw her delivered into the hands of the United Nations refugee agency in lightning speed compared to other asylum cases.

Refugee status is normally granted by governments, but the UNHCR can grant it where states are "unable or unwilling to do so", according to its website.

"Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world", he said.

Alqunun's case has again highlighted the precarious cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Australia's Department of Home Affairs had told CNN it would consider Qunun's "referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals".

"Refugee protection today is often under threat and can not always be assured, but in this instance global refugee law and overriding values of humanity have prevailed".

Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne met with senior Thai officials in Bangkok on Thursday.

She arrived in Thailand on Saturday and was initially denied entry.

A Tuesday statement from the Saudi Embassy in Thailand denied interfering in Alqunun's case, and said it was only monitoring her situation.

World football governing body FIFA says AlAraibi should be freed and allowed to return to Australia where he plays for Melbourne football club Pascoe Vale in the second tier of the Australian League.

Depending on the specifics of her case, she could be eligible for a standard refugee visa, emergency rescue, or perhaps - most likely - a "Woman at Risk" visa, which normally requires a United Nations referral.

Canadian diplomats in the Thai capital were seized with her plight immediately, and though Alqunun originally said she wanted to reach Australia, it became clear in the past week that Canada represented her quickest path to freedom.

Multiple supporters, including journalist Sophie McNeill, who has been in contact with Alqunun during her ordeal, said on Twitter that she was fine but had received death threats.

Refugees can wait their whole lives for a third country to accept them.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton also said there would be no "special treatment" in the case.

Trudeau brushed off a question as to whether Canada's move might make it harder to fix ties with Saudi Arabia. Under the kingdom's strict guardianship laws, adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian to travel overseas, marry or be released from prison.

On Sunday Ms Qunun told AFP her family was "abusive" and once locked her in a room for six months just for cutting her hair.

Ms Alqunun deleted her Twitter account today, with a friend citing death threats for the decision.

Has anything like this happened before?

If Canada is taking Alqunun, it could further upset Saudi-Canada relations.

Alqunun tweeted two pictures from her plane seat - one with what appears to be a glass of wine and her passport and another holding her passport while on the plane with the hastag "I did it" and the emojis showing plane, hearts and wine glass.

Rahaf is an inspiration.

What we are going through is terrible.

"We should know by this evening which country she'll be going to". Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

Unfortunately it's not a revolution.

"I'm the girl who ran away to Thailand". Some people tweeted me or DMed me to tell me to use my real account, for me to be fearless. Australia wants me to go there??? I don't have to take my whole family.

Living this life is exhausting.

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