Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Friday that the country has accepted the UN’s request to grant Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun asylum.
The Saudi teen whose pleas for asylum went viral after she fled from her family and escaped to Thailand earlier this week has been granted asylum in Canada.
“We have accepted the UN’s request that we grant her asylum,” Trudeau told reporters. “That is something that we are pleased to do because Canada is a country that understands how important it is to stand up for human rights, to stand up for women’s rights around the world.”
Alqunun made international headlines this week after she escaped from her family, who had been vacationing in Kuwait, and boarded a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, on January 5. Alqunun was intercepted at the airport in Thailand, where authorities confiscated her passport and planned to deport her back to her family.
Alqunun resisted, saying that she feared for her life, and appealed for asylum. She has claimed that she faced abuse at home, and feared punishment because she had denounced Islam. (Her family has denied allegations of abuse, according to Thai officials.)
The teenager barricaded herself in her airport hotel room and refused to leave until she could speak with UN officials, who could determine her asylum status. After a nearly 48-hour standoff that Alqunun and her supporters broadcast through social media,