12.2 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

The world must not stand by and see Rahaf forcibly returned

Latest News

Community land trust

Shane Sylvanspring, Mullumbimby I want to congratulate and applaud Cr Paul Spooner, Mayor Simon Richardson, and planning staff for supporting and...

Other News

MardiGrass is on and Nimbin is ready to roll

The recent cancellation of Bluesfest sent a shiver up the spine of MardiGrass host Michael Balderstone, as visions of the same fate awaiting the annual protest at Nimbin came too close for comfort.

Death for koalas

Maria Paola Torti, Italy I’m Maria Paola Torti. I live in Italy, and I’m very concerned with the NSW coalition government’s...

Jungle juice

There are times when water just doesn’t cut it. And luckily, for those times, there is Jungle Juice.

Poor Council drains

Kate Anderson, Mullumbimby In response to and support of Kerry Gray’s and Robin Gracie’s letters Echo 31 March). The McGoughans Lane...

Arakwal chemicals

David Gilet, Byron Bay I have long been dismayed by the use of Glyphosate by Parks & Wildlife in Arakwal National...

Will the Shenhua Watermark coal mine be cancelled?

News is trickling through unofficial channels about the possibility of a Berejiklian government plan to buy out the remaining licence from the Shenhua Watermark coal mine project at Breeze in the state's west.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun. Photo Twitter

Radha Stirling

Since this article was written, Thai authorities have allowed Rahaf a temporary stay in Thailand while the UN evaluates her case.

Saudi Arabia is attempting to force 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to return to the country after being apprehended in Thailand en route to Australia where she had hoped to seek asylum.

Reportedly, Saudi officials confiscated her passport and intercepted her at Bangkok airport where she has publicly appealed for asylum and for support from human rights organisations, fearing that she will be killed if returned to the gulf state.

Rights violated

Rahaf is clearly not alone in feeling that her basic rights are violated in Saudi Arabia; there are untold thousands of women who feel the same sense of desperation that drove Rahaf to flee her family,’ she said.

Even Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has acknowledged that the country needs to improve in the area of women’s rights. If Rahaf is deported, the hopes of women throughout the kingdom, and indeed, the Gulf, will be crushed.

When someone makes very serious allegations of abuse, torture, or a threat to their life; authorities have to take it at face value and allow the proper protocols of investigation to occur.

Social media

It has been reported that Rahaf had a visa to go to Australia and intended to apply for asylum; it was due to Saudi intervention that she has not made it. It is unacceptable that the government from which someone is fleeing be permitted to interfere with their asylum request; and totally against diplomatic norms for a third country to cooperate in hindering such a process.

Whatever dangers Rahaf may or may not have faced before she took to social media, the fact is, now that she has criticised Saudi Arabia, Islam, her family, and “shamed the nation”; there is every reason at this point to fear that she could be jailed for many years and be subject to human rights violations and torture. She has violated Saudi laws in seeking to travel without the permission of her male guardian and has now further violated a number of laws and outraged the regime.

Death threats

There are reports that she is receiving death threats and that Saudi men are calling for her to be hanged as an example to other would be ‘rebels’.

We have already witnessed Thailand’s detention and potential deportation of Hakeem Alaraibi to Bahrain, a country from which he fled following his torture in prison for political dissent. And now Rahaf has been detained, against accepted protocols, and faces the likelihood of deportation to Saudi Arabia where it is expected she will suffer severe violations of her human rights.

Authorities in Thailand should be aware that this kind of collaboration with authoritarian regimes, consenting to deport individuals in total disregard for their safety; will inevitably harm the country’s position in the international community.

The world cannot, on one hand, demand greater freedoms and rights for women in Saudi Arabia and, on the other hand, cooperate in denying women those rights and freedoms.

You can support Rahaf by signing this petition.

Radha Stirling, is founder and CEO of legal and human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, representative of Princess Latifa of Dubai (who escaped the UAE but was later forced back via a military operation) and respected analyst of Middle East Policy.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

5 COMMENTS

  1. im not clear why this is australia’s problem. how about we focus on our existing problems of failed cultural integration and stop inviting more.

  2. Having been a foster carer of youth in Australia I would advise caution. Lots of disturbed teenagers around. Our own government places kids with organizations that have been guilty of massive abuse. plenty of corruption in this area, massive abuse in childrens homes and schools, they still get massive tax payers money. Priests convicred, appeal court overturns conviction.

  3. We really can’t take in all the refugees from the world’s less civilised countries. If we start allowing them refugee status because daddy might give them a thrashing, we’ll have millions queueing up. Sorry, young lady, you have my sympathy but not support for entry.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Cartoon of the week – 21 April, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Byron Drag Racers World Record

The local AAA Racing motorcycle team have set a new world record in 100cc class, as well as a top national speed in 50cc class at the recent Australian Speed Week held at Salt Lake Gairdner, South Australia.

Your Local Club Academy Games

The North Coast Academy of Sport prepared its largest squad ever to compete at the 2021 Your Local Club Academy Games, held in the Hunter region last weekend.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 21 April, 2021

Check out entertainment listings for the week, with music, dance, cinema and all sorts events happening in and around the Byron Shire