Australia defends handling of asylum request as Saudi teen heads to Canada

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Saturday, 12 of January 2019 (RBB News) – The Australian government has welcomed the news that a Saudi teen who fled to Thailand to escape her allegedly abusive family has been offered asylum by Canada — and defended its own handling of the matter.

Rahaf Al-Qunun left Bangkok for Toronto on Friday after a day of confusion over where she would be resettled. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later told reporters his nation had accepted the request made by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.Australian Immigration Minister David Coleman said in a statement Saturday that Australia had still been considering the 18-year-old’s asylum claim.”The safety of Ms.

Al-Qunun has always been the Australian government’s primary concern, and we have been working with the UNHCR and international partners to ensure her claim is assessed appropriately,” he said.”At the time of the UNHCR’s referral to Canada on January 11, the assessment of Ms. Al-Qunun’s case by Australian officials was progressing.

“Thailand’s immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn had initially told CNN on Friday that Qunun had been offered asylum by both Australia and Canada. But he later requested that the statement be retracted.”Australia has one of the most generous humanitarian programs in the world, and all applications are considered in accordance with Australian law and procedures,” Coleman’s statement said. “We wish Ms Al-Qunun all the best for her future in Canada.”

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