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UNHCR statement on Canada's resettlement of Saudi national Rahaf Al-Qunun

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UNHCR statement on Canada's resettlement of Saudi national Rahaf Al-Qunun

11 January 2019 Also available in:
Thailand. Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun
Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun at the UN building in Bangkok, before departing to the airport.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the expected arrival in Canada of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun and the decision of the Canadian Government to provide international protection and a long-term solution for her there as a resettled refugee.

The quick actions over the past week of the Government of Thailand in providing temporary refuge and facilitating refugee status determination by UNHCR, and of the Government of Canada in offering emergency resettlement to Ms. al-Qunun and arranging her travel were key to the successful resolution of this case. Ms al-Qunun left Thailand en route to Canada today.

“Ms. al-Qunun’s plight has captured the world’s attention over the past few days, providing a glimpse into the precarious situation of millions of refugees worldwide,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Refugee protection today is often under threat and cannot always be assured, but in this instance international refugee law and overriding values of humanity have prevailed.”

With political sentiment and public attitudes towards refugees having hardened in some countries in recent years, resettlement – the mechanism by which Ms. al-Qunun has been accepted by Canada – is available only to a fraction of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, typically those at greatest risk, such as women at risk. Ms. al-Qunun’s case was dealt with on a fast-track ‘emergency’ basis in light of the urgency of her situation.

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