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Rahaf Al-Qunun Referred To Australia For Refugee Resettlement By UNHCR

The UN's refugee agency has ruled Saudi woman Rahaf Al-Qunun is a refugee.

Australia's Department of Home Affairs confirmed the news on Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement to 10 daily, a spokesperson for the department said it would consider her referral for resettlement in Australia.

"The UNHCR has referred Ms Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun to Australia for consideration for refugee resettlement," the spokesperson said.

Rahaf Al-Qunun (Reuters)

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

"The Government will be making no further comment on this matter."

The Department confirmed earlier on Wednesday it will consider any asylum application by Alqunun, 18, if she is deemed a refugee by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

"Any application by Ms Al-Qunun for a humanitarian visa will be carefully considered once the UNHCR process has concluded," a spokesperson said.

Regardless of the uncertainty of her future, Alqunun tweeted that she was "happy" with the decision from the United Nations.

Alqunun was detained by Saudi officials at a Bangkok airport after flying from Kuwait, as she sought to reach Australia to seek asylum.

When she arrived in Thailand, she claimed she was met by a Saudi diplomat who forcibly confiscated her passport. She said had been confined inside a hotel room at the airport, under the guard of men she said were from the Saudi embassy and Kuwait airlines.

The teenager claims she is fleeing psychological and physical violence at the hands of male members of her family.

She has also denounced Islam and cut her hair. Alqunun claims her life would be in grave danger if she were returned to Saudi Arabia and her family would kill her.