Home / Latest Breaking News / Canada shouldn’t use teenage Saudi refugee as a ‘political football’: ex-ambassador

Canada shouldn’t use teenage Saudi refugee as a ‘political football’: ex-ambassador

Canada did the suitable factor by means of granting asylum to Saudi lady Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun however must take steps to make certain that the case doesn’t purpose irreversible harm to members of the family with Saudi Arabia, says Canada’s former ambassador to Riyadh.

Dennis Horak has first-hand wisdom of the two nations’ testy courting, having been expelled from Saudi Arabia in August within the wake of Canada’s grievance of the dominion’s detention of girls’s rights activists.

That courting faces renewed demanding situations following Canada’s choice to grant asylum to Al-Qunun, the daughter of a Saudi governor, who fled Saudi Arabia and accused her father and different male family members of abuse.

The 18-year-old arrived in Toronto on Saturday after resisting her circle of relatives’s makes an attempt to have her returned to Saudi Arabia from Bangkok, the place she barricaded herself in an airport resort room and introduced a Twitter marketing campaign to plead for asylum.

READ MORE: ‘An overly courageous new Canadian’  Saudi lady who fled circle of relatives arrives in Toronto

“I believe [granting her asylum] was once the suitable factor to do nevertheless it’s going to have an affect in Saudi Arabia when it comes to their perspectives against Canada. They’ll see this as but any other instance of our ‘interference’ of their inner affairs,” Horak advised International Information.

“If we make her a political soccer to make use of this example to bash the Saudis to make our level on Saudi human rights, I believe that may exacerbate the location even additional. And it wouldn’t do her any excellent both.”

WATCH: Saudi teenager fleeing abusive circle of relatives arrives in Canada, welcomed by means of Chrystia Freeland





Horak stated that whilst it’s inevitable that the Al-Qunun case will aggravate tensions within the quick time period, Canada may just mitigate the wear and tear by means of keeping up an open line of communique with Saudi Arabia.

“I believe at this level, it’s time to let her settle in after which paintings and communicate with the Saudis and give an explanation for to them why we did what we did, and most likely that may mitigate one of the vital harm that can happen,” stated Horak.

WATCH: Saudi teenager fleeing circle of relatives granted asylum in Canada






The case has additionally sparked issues about conceivable Saudi retaliation in opposition to the 20,000 Canadians who reside within the Arab international’s richest nation.

Final month, two Canadian males had been arrested in China amid tensions between Ottawa and Beijing over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor stay in Chinese language custody after being arrested on suspicion of spying and endangering nationwide safety.

READ MORE: Chinese language ambassador pens op-ed on Canadian detainees, slams ‘Western egotism and white supremacy’

Horak stated it’s not likely that Saudi Arabia would hotel to an identical techniques, even if he mentioned that Canadian expats within the kingdom would possibly come across different difficulties.

“Individually, a large number of the Canadians which are there are doing precious paintings, so I don’t suppose I might see them being arrested for instance as we’ve observed in China,” he stated.

“They will come across — and I believe some have already because the summertime — problem with such things as visa renewals or contract renewals… or in the event that they’re on the lookout for new jobs with different firms, Canadians might not be the most well liked citizenship for potential employers.

“However I wouldn’t be overly occupied with arrests and issues.”

WATCH: Ottawa delegation in China as two Canadians stay detained






Horak stated it’s necessary that diplomatic members of the family don’t change into strained to the purpose that Canada and Saudi Arabia shutter their embassies in every different’s territories.

“That might in no way be in Canada’s pursuits and I don’t suppose that’ll occur,” he stated, even if he cautioned that “overreaction can’t be dominated out” at the a part of the Saudis.

“It’s essential that Canada be there, it’s essential that Canada have an embassy there to provide protections, standard consular services and products and consular protections which are easiest delivered when there’s an embassy at the floor,” he stated.

A man stands outside the Canadian embassy in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Aug. 7, 2018.

A person stands out of doors the Canadian embassy within the Saudi capital Riyadh, Aug. 7, 2018.

Nasser Al-Harbi/AFP/Getty Photographs

Considerations of diplomatic tensions apart, Horak credited Al-Qunun’s case for shining a focus on Saudi Arabia’s guardianship regulations which curtail ladies’s freedom.

“When I used to be there, Saudi ladies talked to me so much in regards to the guardianship regulations. The West was once speaking all about using and so they stated, ‘no that’s effective, I’m using, that’s effective’ however the true factor for them is the guardianship regulations,” he stated.

It’s conceivable that Al-Qunun’s case will spur a renewed exam of guardianship regulations, Horak stated, even if he warned it would additionally spark a conservative backlash, with households additional tightening restrictions on daughters.

So far as Al-Qunun’s long run is going, Horak stated it’s essential to let her take her time to settle into Canadian lifestyles quite than power her to change into a mouthpiece in opposition to Saudi human rights abuses.

“I believe she must have time to settle in and if she comes to a decision down the street that she needs to be an activist and be very vocal in this, that’s nice,” he stated.

“However that are supposed to be as much as her and no longer one thing that we push her into.”

— With recordsdata from Grant MacDonald

© 2019 International Information, a department of Corus Leisure Inc.

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