Syd­ney: Top­less protest’s mes­sage for Saudi refugee

Daily Messenger - - International - SJA Jafri Bureau Chief Aus­tralia

SYD­NEY: Four women have held a top­less protest in Syd­ney to sup­port run­away Saudi woman Ra­haf Mo­hammed Alqu­nun, as Aus­tralia be­gan con­sid­er­ing her bid to set­tle in the coun­try as a refugee.

Alqu­nun was yes­ter­day deemed a refugee by the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees, after be­ing de­tained in Bangkok en route to Aus­tralia. The 18-year-old pub­li­cised her case via so­cial me­dia after bar­ri­cad­ing her­self in her Bangkok ho­tel room, say­ing she feared for her safety if sent back to her fam­ily in Saudi-Ara­bia.

In down­town Syd­ney this morn­ing, four women, dressed only in jeans and call­ing them­selves the Se­cret Sis­ter­hood, protested out­side the build­ing hous­ing the Saudi Con­sulate, call­ing on Aus­tralia to grant Alqu­nun res­i­dency.

With "Se­cret Sis­ter­hood" writ­ten on their backs, the women held plac­ards with mes­sages in­clud­ing "Let her in," ''Ra­haf Sis­ter­hood Hero" and "All women free + safe."

Se­cret Sis­ter­hood founder Jac­quie Love said the protest was held to urge the Aus­tralian govern­ment to rec­og­nize Alqu­nun's plight and that of op­pressed women ev­ery­where.

"We are here to en­cour­age them to let her in," Love said. "She's been rec­og­nized by the UN as a refugee so we be­lieve the Aus­tralian govern­ment needs to step up, recog­nise her plight and recog­nise what she's gone through, and she could be an icon for the rest of the world that women shouldn't be op­pressed and they should be flee­ing coun­tries that they are op­pressed in."

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