An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family and said she feared her life was due to arrive in Canada on Saturday after becoming asylum in the North American country.
Friday's Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada had accepted a request from the UNHCR to bring in Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who received international attention earlier this week after she barred himself in a hotel in Bangkok airport to resist being sent home to her family who refuse abuse.
"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 and I can confirm that we have accepted the UN's request," Trudeau told reporters .
The decision is likely to exacerbate Canada's already poor relations with Saudi Arabia, which last year prevented the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh after Ottawa criticized the Saudi authorities for detaining
Alqunun arrived in Bangkok on January 5 and was originally denied access, but She soon started posting on Twitter from the transit area of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, saying she had "space Kuwait" and her life would be in danger if you were forced to return to Saudi Arabia.
After a 48-hour stop at Bangkok Airport, some of them barred a hotel in the transit room, she was allowed to enter Thailand and was then treated as a refugee by UNHCR.
UNHCR welcomed Canada's decision and also admitted that Thailand had given Alqunun a temporary refuge.
"Alqunun's situation has caught the world's attention over the past few days, providing an insight into the precarious situation of millions of refugees around the world," UN Secretary-General Filippo Grandi said in a statement.
Alqunun has accused his family of abuse and has refused to meet his father and brother who arrived in Bangkok to take her back to Saudi Arabia.
"It was her desire to go to Canada," said Thai immigration manager Surachate Hakparn to reporters. "She still refuses to meet with her father and brother, and they will also return tonight too … They are disappointed."
Her case has drawn global attention to Saudi's strict social rules, including a requirement that women be authorized by a male "guardian" to travel, which rights groups say may trap women and girls as prisons of abusive families.
A Korean flight with Alqunun left Bangkok to Seoul on Friday evening at 11:37 am local
Alqunun was expected to board a connecting flight to Toronto from Seoul Incheon Airport before arriving in Canada on Saturday morning.
Trudeau brushed a question as to whether Canadian movement could make it harder to repair ties with Saudi Arabia.
"Canada has been unambiguous that we will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world," he said.
ical pressure, Trudeau said last month that his liberal government was looking for a way out of a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Riyadh.
Alqunun's flight has arisen at a time when Riyadh is facing unusually intense scrutiny by his western allies over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October and on the humanitarian consequences of his war in Yemen.
Canada has repeatedly said that Khashoggi's murder was unacceptable and has demanded a full explanation.