Canada's Foreign Minister said Saturday, after a young Saudi women fled to Canada out of fear for her life, that Canada believes "very strongly that women's rights are human rights."
Eighteen-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun was greeted by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland as she arrived from Thailand in the Canadian city of Toronto Saturday morning via Seoul, South Korea.
Canada granted Alqunun asylum after she fled her family out of fear for her life.
"It is absolutely the case that there are many women, far, far too many women who are in dangerous situations, both in Canada and around the world," Freeland told reporters at a Toronto airport shortly after Alqunun's arrival. "For a single woman or girl to be in a dangerous situation is one too many."
Freeland added that granting asylum to Alqunun "is part of a broader Canadian policy of supporting women and girls in Canada and around the world."
The ultra-conservative kingdom has strict restrictions on women, including a requirement that they must have the permission of male family members to travel.
Another Saudi woman, Dina Lasloom, flew to the Philippines in 2017 while trying to escape Saudi Arabia.
An airline security official reported seeing her dragged out of the airport with her mouth, hands and feet bound with duct tape. Human rights activists have seen no trace of her since.