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Saudi moves into th 21st century!


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Saudi women to get divorce confirmation by text message

A new regulation in Saudi Arabia is set to stop Saudi women from not knowing about their own divorce.

Starting from Sunday, courts will be required to notify women by text on rulings confirming their divorces.

Local female lawyers suggest the measure will end what are known as secret divorces - cases where men end a marriage without telling their wives.

The directive would ensure women are fully aware of their marital status and can protect rights such as alimony.

Last year, a decades-old driving ban on women was lifted in Saudi Arabia.

However, women still remain subject to male guardianship laws.

"The new measure ensures women get their [alimony] rights when they're divorced," Saudi lawyer Nisreen al-Ghamdi told Bloomberg. "It also ensures that any powers of attorney issued before the divorce are not misused."

Many women have filed appeals to courts over being divorced without their knowledge, lawyer Samia al-Hindi told local newspaper Okaz.

The new step is said to be part of economic and social reforms pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, such as allowing women to attend football matches and work in jobs traditionally reserved for men.

What can Saudi women still not do?

There are many things that Saudi women are unable to do without permission from a male guardian, usually a husband, father, brother or son.

These things include, but are not limited to:

  • Applying for passports
  • Travelling abroad
  • Getting married
  • Opening a bank account
  • Starting certain businesses
  • Getting elective surgery
  • Leaving prison

The guardianship system has helped create one of the most gender unequal countries in the Middle East.



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Rahaf al-Qunun: Saudi woman blocks Bangkok deportation move

A young Saudi woman who says she has fled her family in fear for her life has barricaded herself in her hotel room at Bangkok airport.

Thai immigration officials want to return Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, to Kuwait, where her family is.

She refused to board a flight to Kuwait City on Monday, despite officials stationed outside her room.

"My brothers and family and the Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait," the teenager told Reuters.

"They will kill me. My life is in danger. My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things."

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concerns over Ms Mohammed al-Qunun's welfare.

"She has barricaded herself in the room & says she will not leave" until she is allowed to meet the UN refugee agency and claim asylum, Human Rights Watch's deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said on Twitter.

Mr Robertson said Thai lawyers have filed an injunction in Bangkok criminal court "to prevent the deportation of Rahaf to Kuwait", adding: "time is short & she faces dire peril".

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun was on holiday with her family in Kuwait when she fled two days ago. She was trying to head to Australia, where she hoped to seek asylum, via a connecting flight in Bangkok.

She says her passport was seized by a Saudi diplomat who met her coming off the flight at Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday.

She insists she has a visa for Australia, and never wanted to stay in Thailand.

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok said Ms Mohammed al-Qunun had been held at the airport "because she didn't have a return ticket" and that she is set to be deported to Kuwait "where most of her family lives".

It said Saudi Arabia does not have the authority to hold her at the airport or anywhere else, and that officials are in touch with her father.

Mr Robertson of Human Rights Watch told the BBC: "It seems that the Thai government is manufacturing a story that she tried to apply for a visa and it was denied... in fact, she had an onward ticket to go to Australia, she didn't want to enter Thailand in the first place."

He argued that the Thai authorities had clearly co-operated with Saudi Arabia as Saudi officials were able to meet the plane when it arrived.

How was the world alerted?

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun started attracting attention with her social media posts over the weekend. She has also given a friend access to her Twitter account, calling it a contingency in case anything should happen to her.

She told BBC Newshour she was in a hotel in the transit area.

"I shared my story and my pictures on social media and my father is so angry because I did this... I can't study and work in my country, so I want to be free and study and work as I want," she said.

Women in Saudi Arabia are subject to male guardianship laws, which mean they need a male relative's permission to work, travel, marry, open a bank account, or even leave prison.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun wrote on Twitter that she had decided to share her name and details because she had "nothing to lose" now.

She has asked for asylum from governments around the world.

The BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok says Ms Mohammed al-Qunun is frightened and confused.

She told the BBC that she had renounced Islam, and feared she would be forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia and killed by her family.

Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement: "Saudi women fleeing their families can face severe violence from relatives, deprivation of liberty, and other serious harm if returned against their will."

Thai Police Major General Surachate Hakparn told the BBC that Ms Mohammed al-Qunun was escaping a marriage, and called the case a "family problem".

The case echoes that of another Saudi woman who was in transit to Australia in April 2017.

Dina Ali Lasloom, 24, was en route from Kuwait via the Philippines but was taken back to Saudi Arabia from Manila airport by her family.

She used a Canadian tourist's phone to send a message, a video of which was posted to Twitter, saying her family would kill her.

Her fate on arriving back in Saudi Arabia remains unknown.











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Taken at face value, it's a story of the Arab, reprehensible attitude towards women and the savagery and barbaric nature of the Saudi culture.

The cynic in me is wondering if this could be a teenage entitled daughter, spitting tacks because she's not allowed a gold plated coterie of servants. Or fame and fortune on a platter. The princess delusion.

Any hoo, it's now an international incident and it would seem all the right things are being done, the Thais are behaving appropriately, Dad's arrived and the Australians are ensuring due process along with UNHCR.




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Rahaf al-Qunun: Saudi teenager given refugee status by the UN

Australia to consider asylum request after home affairs minister says she would not get ‘special treatment’

Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun has been found to be a refugee by the United Nations, and the Australian government will now consider her asylum request, according to the Department of Home Affairs.

The 18-year-old woman barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room on Sunday to prevent her forcible return to Saudi Arabia, where she claims her family will kill her because she has renounced Islam.

On Wednesday, the UN high commissioner for refugees assessed Qunun, found her to be a refugee and referred her to Australia for resettlement.

The Department of Home Affairs said it “will consider this referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals”.

A UNHCR spokeswoman told the Guardian that Qunun would remain in their care until a long-term solution has been found. “She remains in a safe location in Bangkok for the time being,” she said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Australia’s home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, had warned there will be “no special treatment” for Qunun, despite a groundswell of support for the woman.

The Australian director of Human Rights Watch Australia, Elaine Pearson, said the Australian government should “act quickly” to bring her safely to Australia.

“She is a young Saudi woman whose face has been plastered around the world,” Pearson said. “She’s more at risk than other refugees, not just from her family but threats she has faced online and from her own government.

“We all know what the Saudi government is capable of doing on foreign soil. I would hope that, once her claim has been assessed, the Australian government will act quickly to get her out of Thailand and to safety.”

The Australian government previously said it would carefully consider granting a visa to Qunun if she is found to be a refugee by the United Nations. Her friends said on Tuesday that Australia had cancelled the tourist visa she was travelling on.

Qunun was detained on arrival at Bangkok and denied entry to Thailand while en route to Australia, where she said she intended to seek asylum.

The Australian Greens senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, has called on the government to show moral leadership and act quickly to offer Qunun sanctuary. “It is time to bring this courageous young woman to Australia to start her life as a free woman,” she said.

A group called the Secret Sisterhood has set up a GoFundMe page to raise cash for Qunun once she is resettled in another country.



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Not sure she can consider Australia safe. They have raggers there too and for sure one or more will view her apostasy as an affront to their pure and virtuous clean living and will retaliate by slaughtering her, Kashoggi style no doubt, in the purest belief they are doing the right thing and will be rewarded in some non-existent afterlife with the invisible sky fairies.

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It's hard to guess if Canada would be a better or worse choice than Australia. My guess is that's a first world type of problem not really relevant to the issue. Canada does have a large immigrant population of multi ethnic backgrounds none of whom seem poised to invade the USA. That said there are likely one or two whack jobs on Canadian soil ready to make good with her family. Irrespective of whether the lass in question really does fear for her safety or if this was just a princess tantrum the simple fact she got out and hopefully stays out, and safe, should be seen as a beacon of hope. I think pretty much every revolution starts with just one voice saying "Enough of this shit!"

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