The Australian authorities arrested four women activists who demonstrated bare-breasted in a protest in front of the Riyadh consulate in Sydney in support of Saudi asylum seeker Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun, whose case has sparked widespread international controversy.
According to the American Associated Press News Agency, the four women, wearing only jeans, organised a demonstration on Thursday morning in front of the consulate, and asked the government of Canberra to grant asylum to the young Saudi girl who is currently in Thailand capital Bangkok under the protection of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The agency published pictures of women activists who wrote on their bare backs the slogan “Secret Sisterhood of Women”.
The protesters carried banners reading: “Let her in,” “Rahaf is the Hero of the Sisterhood” and “Security and Freedom for All Women.”
The Women’s Secret Sisterhood founder, activist Jackie Loew, stressed that the women activists took to the streets to encourage the government to meet the Saudi refugee’s demand, which has already been granted by the United Nations.
She added that “Rahaf may be an example for the whole world,” because “women should not be oppressed, and they have to flee countries where they are oppressed.”
The activist said that she and her colleagues decided to demonstrate naked to emphasise the right of women to express themselves freely and safely.
The Women’s Secret Sisterhood has also launched a fundraising campaign for the young Saudi woman, and about $ 3,000 have been raised so far on the famous financial support site GoFundMe.
The Saudi woman is currently staying at a Bangkok hotel under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She accused her family of causing her physical and psychological harm, and refused to return to the kingdom “for fear of being killed by her family.”
Rahaf’s case has sparked widespread controversy over the issue of Saudi women’s rights, noting that many Saudi women, who have been fleeing their families’ abuse, have been arrested while trying to seek asylum abroad in recent years and have returned home, and some of them had never been heard from again.
But, human rights activists said that many similar cases had not been reported.
However, Rahaf’s case is a thorny issue, mainly because it includes a “change of religion,” as she claimed on her Facebook page, which is not widely accepted in the land of the Two Holy Mosques.