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Saudi refugee reaches her new home in Canada


Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, centre, with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Saturday.


Finally Rahaf Mohammed al quunun settled in Canada as a refugee ,
tired but smiling, she is, 18, arrived on Saturday in Canada, which offered her asylum in a case that attracted global attention after she mounted a social media campaign.

● “This is Rahaf al-Qunun, a very brave new Canadian,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said arm-in-arm with the Saudi woman in Toronto’s airport.

● Ms. Qunun smiled broadly as she exited an airport arrival door sporting a Canada zipper hoodie and a UN High Commissioner for Refugees hat, capping a dramatic week that saw her flee her family while visiting Kuwait and before flying to Bangkok. Once there, she barricaded herself in an airport hotel to avoid deportation and tweeted about her situation.

● On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would accept Ms. Qunun as a refugee. Her situation has highlighted the cause of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, where several women fleeing abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum abroad in recent years and returned home.

● Ms. Freeland said Ms. Alqunun preferred not to take questions Saturday. “She is obviously very tired after a long journey and she preferred to go and get settled,” Ms. Freeland said. “But it was Rahaf’s choice to come out and say hello to Canadians. She wanted Canadians to see that she’s here, that she’s well and that she’s very happy to be in her new home.”

● After arriving she was off to get winter clothes, said Mario Calla, executive director of COSTI Immigrant Services, which is helping her settle in temporary housing and applying for a health card. Ms. Qunun flew to Toronto via Seoul, South Korea, according to Thai immigration Police Chief Surachate Hakparn.


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