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Women's rights in Saudi Arabia: 'I escaped to seek a better life'

Image of Salwa given to the BBC

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Salwa

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Salwa, 24, ran clear of her circle of relatives 8 months in the past and claimed asylum in Canada

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It is a dramatic tale that has introduced the limitations confronted by means of ladies in Saudi Arabia again into the highlight.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, garnered international consideration remaining week after she locked herself into her lodge room and refused to fly again house.

She used to be fleeing her circle of relatives in Saudi Arabia and, after instigating a high-profile Twitter marketing campaign, used to be granted asylum in Canada.

As the talk about ladies’s rights within the nation continues, any other younger girl who fled Saudi Arabia for Canada has informed her tale to the BBC.

Salwa, 24, ran away together with her 19-year-old sister 8 months in the past and now lives in Montreal. This, in her personal phrases, is her tale.

The preparation

We were making plans to depart for kind of six years, however we wanted a passport and a countrywide ID card to take action.

I wanted the consent of my father or mother to get those paperwork. (Ladies in Saudi Arabia are required to acquire a male family member’s approval for plenty of issues).

Thankfully, I had a countrywide ID card already as a result of my circle of relatives agreed to provide me one whilst I used to be learning at college.

I additionally had a passport as a result of I wanted one to take a seat an English language examination two years in the past.

However my circle of relatives took it clear of me. One way or the other, I had to get it again.

I stole the keys to my brother’s space after which went to the shop to get a replica of them lower. I could not depart the home with out their consent, however I sneaked out whilst they had been snoozing.

It used to be very dangerous as a result of if I were stuck then they might have harm me.

When I had the keys I controlled to pay money for my passport, my sister’s passport, and I additionally took my father’s telephone whilst he used to be snoozing.

The usage of this, I logged into his account at the internal ministry’s website online and altered his registered telephone quantity to my quantity.

I extensively utilized his account to provide us each consent to depart the rustic.

The break out

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The pair ran clear of house and flew to Germany from King Khalid Global Airport

We left at night time whilst everybody used to be snoozing. It used to be very, very, annoying.

We will’t pressure so we known as a taxi. Thankfully, nearly the entire taxi drivers in Saudi Arabia are from international international locations so they did not view us travelling by myself as abnormal.

We headed for King Khalid Global Airport close to Riyadh. If any person had spotted what we had been doing then I feel we might had been killed.

For the remaining yr of my schooling I used to be running in a sanatorium and stored up sufficient cash to shop for the airplane tickets and a transit visa for Germany. I additionally had cash from unemployment advantages that I had stored.

I controlled to board the flight to Germany with my sister. It used to be the primary time I had ever been on a airplane and it used to be wonderful. I felt satisfied, I felt worried, I felt the whole lot.

My father known as the police when he realised we were not at house, however by means of that point it used to be too past due.

As a result of I had modified the telephone quantity on his internal ministry account, when the government attempted to name him they in reality known as me.

After I landed, I might even won a message from the police that used to be intended for my father.

The arriving

There is no lifestyles in Saudi Arabia. I simply went to the college then moved again house and did not anything all day.

They harm me, and informed me dangerous such things as males are awesome. I used to be compelled to wish and rapid at Ramadan as neatly.

After I arrived in Germany I went to criminal assist to discover a attorney for my asylum declare. I crammed out some paperwork and informed them my tale.

I selected Canada as it has an excellent popularity for human rights. I adopted the inside track concerning the Syrian refugees being resettled there and made up our minds it used to be the most productive position for me.

My declare used to be authorized, and after I landed in Toronto I noticed the Canadian flag on the airport and simply felt this wonderful sense of accomplishment.

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I am in Montreal as of late with my sister and there is no rigidity. No person forces me to do anything else right here.

They may have more cash in Saudi Arabia however right here it is higher as a result of after I need to depart my condo I will be able to simply depart. I don’t want consent. I simply move outdoor.

It makes me really feel actually, actually, satisfied. I think like I’m loose. I simply put on what I need to put on.

I really like the colors within the autumn and the snow right here. I am finding out French however it is so tough! I am additionally finding out to trip a bicycle and I am seeking to discover ways to swim and ice skate.

I think like I am in reality doing one thing with my lifestyles.

I shouldn’t have any touch with my circle of relatives, however I feel that is just right for me and for them. I think like that is my house now. It is higher right here.

As informed to the BBC’s Gareth Evans and Out of doors Supply on International Carrier radio.

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