UN helps eloped Saudi woman fight for asylum – and love

UNHCR officials in Yemen told the BBC Huda’s application was likely to be approved on the grounds that she could face mistreatment, even death, at the hands of her family if returned home.

In Yemen, it is being celebrated as a modern day Romeo and Juliet story.

Huda crossed the border several weeks ago, followed by her boyfriend, Arafat, who was working in Saudi Arabia.

Huda – who is in her early 20s – says she decided they had to elope after Arafat’s marriage proposal was rejected by her family.

The two have been held in an immigration detention centre in Yemen since their arrival.

Huda is charged with illegally crossing the border.

The same charge against Arafat was dropped, but he refused to be freed, wanting to remain with her in prison.

The two get to meet once a week when Huda’s asylum case is heard in court.

At first, her application to do this through the UNHCR was rejected by the ministry of the interior…But UNHCR officials in Yemen say the judge allowed her request last week…

She then filled out a form known as the Refugee Status Determination. While this is being studied, she is under UN protection and cannot be deported.

The UNHCR officials have told the BBC that it is very likely that she will be granted full refugee status in the next few days, which would mean that Huda and Arafat would be freed and able to marry

For its part, the UNHCR says that if Yemen does for whatever reason bow to Saudi pressure over the case and try to have Huda deported, it has an alternative plan which could see the two lovers united in another country.

Fundamentalist religions of just about any sort drive me up a tree. They seem to exist only to oppress women, stifle love, prevent kindness between human beings and in general make this short life we have as miserable as possible.

My best wishes to the young couple. I hope they manage to find somewhere to marry and continue their love without the interference of state religion.

One thought on “UN helps eloped Saudi woman fight for asylum – and love

  1. allthoughtswork says:

    “Fundamentalist religions of just about any sort drive me up a tree. They seem to exist only to oppress women, stifle love, prevent kindness between human beings and in general make this short life we have as miserable as possible.”

    And how. What fascinates me, though, is how the women of these religions manage to perform some sort of an ongoing psychotic split in their psyches that allows them to see their own oppression as loving protection. (See: Stockholm Syndrome)

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