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UNHCR staff continue to assess protection claim for Saudi asylum-seeker Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun

 

Immediate Release: 8 January, 2019

UNHCR staff continue to assess protection claim for Saudi asylum-seeker Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun

UNHCR Thailand will continue looking into the case of Saudi asylum-seeker, Rahaf Mohammed Al- qunun, as part of a process to assess her need for international protection.

Thanks to support from the Thai authorities, late on Monday UNHCR staff were granted access to speak to Ms Mohammed Al-qunun. She had refused to board a plane back to Kuwait and had taken refuge in an airport hotel.

“We are very grateful that the Thai authorities did not send back Ms. Al-qunun against her will and are extending protection for her”, said UNHCR’s Representative in Thailand, Giuseppe de Vincentiis.

“It could take several days to process the case and determine next steps”, he added. “For reasons of protection and confidentiality we are not in a position to comment on the details of individual cases".

UNHCR consistently advocates that refugees and asylum seekers – having been confirmed or claimed to be in need of international protection – cannot be returned to their countries of origin according to the principle of non-refoulement.

Non-refoulement is an international principle that prevents states from expelling or returning persons to a territory where their life or freedom would be threatened.

This principle is recognized as customary international law and is also enshrined in Thailand’s international treaty obligations.