Amnesty praises UN refugee ruling on Saudi woman

BANGKOK (AP) — The human rights group Amnesty International says it welcomes the decision by a U.N. body to grant refugee status to a young Saudi woman who was stopped in Thailand as she was trying to flee her allegedly abusive family.

Australia’s Home Affairs Department confirmed Wednesday that the office of the U.N. High Commissioner had referred 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to the country for resettlement consideration.

Amnesty International said in a statement that Alqunun’s case had inspired millions and should remind people of the bravery and sacrifices of people who flee their native lands for safety.

It praised Thailand for its actions in Alqunun’s case, but said the country had not treated other asylum-seekers in the same responsible manner.

It noted that Hakeem al-Araibi, a refugee and “torture survivor” from Bahrain granted residence in Australia, has been detained by Thailand since November awaiting a hearing on a Bahraini extradition request.