Saudi refugee in Canada expects more women to flee homeland

Mike Pompeo the US Secretary of State met King Salman on January 14. The issue of arrested activists did not come

"Today and for years to come I will work in support of freedom for women around the world, the same freedom I experienced on the first day I arrived in Canada", said the 18-year-old, whose widely publicised battle to escape her family garnered global attention.

She said that when she learned she had been granted asylum in Canada, the 'stress I felt over the last week melted away'.

Mohammed, who has dropped her family name, gained worldwide attention after her runaway flight to Thailand, where a Saudi official allegedly confiscated her passport as she attempted to reach Australia.

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees granted her refugee status, and Canada agreed to take her in.

She was granted asylum in Canada on Friday. "I felt overjoyed. There was a lot of love and hospitality, especially when the minister welcomed me and told me I was in a safe country and had all my rights".

Thailand relented, saying it wouldn't deport her amid the worldwide pressure, and a short time later UNHCR granted Mohammed refugee status.

"Where she's staying, a professional security that we've contracted to be there, and we make sure that she is never alone", he told reporters.

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She said she hopes that her story that has garnered worldwide attention will be a catalyst for change in Saudi Arabia.

Mohammed is in Canada as a government-assisted refugee, which means she will have the government's financial support for "typically up to 12 months", Mario Calla, executive director of COSTI Immigrant Services, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

'I know there are unlucky women who disappeared after trying to escape or who could not do anything to change their reality'.

"I was expecting them to enter the room and kidnap me", she told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Canada offered to resettle her and she landed in Toronto on Saturday. "This might be the agent for change".

"It was something unbelievable", she said.

"I couldn't get a job without permission".

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She added that she hoped her successful escape would also prompt the reform of Saudi Arabia's draconian "guardianship" laws that restrict women's freedoms, and rights to travel and work. Ms. Mohammed has alleged abuse at the hands of her family members in Saudi Arabia but did not elaborate on those allegations in a statement delivered in Arabic, then repeated by an English translator.

A local resettlement support agency on contract with the federal government, COSTI will help her find temporary lodging, apply for health coverage and a social insurance number, open a bank account, and learn to get around Canada's largest city, Calla explained.

She also turned to Twitter, pleading for help.

While her father and brother headed to Thailand to retrieve her, the teen said, she contemplated killing herself.

She also said she is declining any more media interviews and declined to take questions. "I hope my story encourages other women to be fearless and free for now".

"She sees these threats", he said.

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