After a prevented deportation to their home country arrived in front of her family, who had fled Saudi Arabia Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun in Canada. The canadian foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland picked up the young woman on Saturday morning (local time) in person at the airport in Toronto, as the photos show.

Canada, the 18 had offered Years before asylum – which is likely to strain the already tense relationship between Canada and the ultra-conservative Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The UN refugee Agency, UNHCR, welcomed al-Qununs arrival via Twitter, and thanked Canada for the women “protection, and a long-term solution” would be.

“It is a pleasure for me to welcome this Morning a very brave new canadian in your new home welcome,” said Freeland to the canadian radio CBC. Al-Qunun not expressed initially.

“she is after the long journey, obviously very tired and wanted to rest. She wanted to but that the Canadians can see that it is here, that she’s okay and that she is very happy to be in their new home – even if she has mentioned to me the cold. I told her that it will soon be warmer,” said Minister of Freeland.

the case attracted worldwide attention

Al-Qunun was stranded last weekend in Bangkok, after they could settle during a visit to Kuwait of your family. It, abused and threatened with death.

The Thai authorities wanted to send back, refused but in the end. With an unprecedented campaign on the short-messaging service Twitter, it managed to prevent this. Her case attracted worldwide attention.

The United Nations has recognized the young woman as a refugee and took the opportunity to remind of the fate of many others, the failure to escape from political, economic or other reasons.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has activated her Twitter account again, it had shut off after insults and threats in the meantime. Newer photos show, as she sits in the plane. In Hand she holds her saudi Arabian passport.

“Thank you, you to me

Actually, have supported the” wanted al-Qunun to Australia. On the way, they landed on Saturday of last week in Bangkok, where the authorities refused to Ask Saudi Arabia’s first, but the more travel.

it was Unclear initially why she was not to Australia to an asylum. The local authorities had already begun with the examination, if she could get a visa for humanitarian reasons. The chief of Thailand’s immigration police, Surachate Hakparn, said in Bangkok: “It was your own desire to go to Canada. For Thailand, the matter is now over.”

The 18-Year-old thanked on Twitter for their support. “Thank you for supporting me and my life you saved,” she wrote. “To be honest: I have this love and this support never dream of. You are the spark that motivated me to become a better person.”

Saudi Arabia and Canada in the Clinch

The fall means a new burden on the already tense relationship between Canada and Saudi Arabia. Canada’s foreign Minister, Freeland had expressed last year in a Tweet critical of the arrest of human rights activists in the ultra-conservative Kingdom.

Riyadh reacted angrily, and took a series of counter-measures. Among other things, Saudi Arabia was the canadian Ambassador and withdrew its Ambassador from Ottawa. The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau remained in the diplomatic crisis, but tough.

Freeland criticized at the time, among other things, the arrest of Samar Badawi, sister of the imprisoned saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi. His wife Ensaf Haidar is living with her three children in Canada. You have also obtained the citizenship of the country. Raif Badawi was sentenced in Saudi Arabia to a thousand lashes and ten years in prison.

UN high Commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi said, al-Qununs case show, in what difficult situations, refugees often were. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the 25.4 million refugees have worldwide prospect, to find the recording in a safe country.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.