Ms Alqunun's case has drawn global attention to Saudi Arabia's strict social rules, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male "guardian" to travel, which rights groups say can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families. She began by boarding a plane by herself to Thailand, but the plan quickly spiraled out of control.
The Department of Home Affairs confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees had referred Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to Australia for consideration for refugee settlement.
It said any application by Ms Al-Qunun for a humanitarian visa would be "carefully considered" once the UNHCR process has concluded. Thai officials confiscated her passport and initially sought to deport her, before what observers called an "unheard of" about-face.More news: Marcus Rashford can reach Harry Kane's level - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Alqunun refused to meet with her father, who arrived in the Thai capital on Tuesday. We have no idea what he is going to do ... whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her. She told Reuters she was fleeing her family's "physical, emotional and verbal abuse", adding she was restricted from travel and continuing her education. But the Thai immigration chief, Surachate Hakpan, said the men would have to wait to learn whether the UN's refugee agency would allow the request. She feared for her life if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.
The embassy - and Thai officials - earlier also said that Alqunun was stopped by Thai authorities in Bangkok because she did not have a return ticket, a hotel reservation or itinerary to show she was a tourist, which appeared to have raised a red flag about the reasons for her trip.
Al-Qunun's father and brother arrived in Thailand but she refused to see them.
"The government will be making no further comment on this matter", the Department said.
Yet because Thailand has not ratified the U.N.'s 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, the main statues defining protections for refugees, Thai law provides little protection or respite to the vulnerable masses. She says her family thinks of her as a slave, and will kill her for renouncing Islam.More news: Elon Musk shares the first proper image of his massive rocket
He told Australia's ABC that he was concerned about the arrival of Alqunun's father in Thailand.
When someone makes very serious allegations of abuse, torture or a threat to their life, authorities have to take it at face value and allow the proper protocols of investigation to occur, Ms Stirling said.
Alqunun's case is similar to that of Dina Ali Lasloom, a young Saudi woman who fled to the Philippines from Kuwait in 2017. She said access to twitter had "changed the game" in what was wished for her.
Alqunun ran from this oppression, and her bravery means more people are speaking out against the terrifying Saudi regime. In the meantime, her al-Qunun has asked that the media and public continue to pressure officials to follow-through on securing her asylum.
Within hours, a campaign sprang up on Twitter, spread by a loose network of activists around the world, prompting the Thai government to reverse a decision to force the young woman onto a plane that would return her to her family. She was reportedly taken to a detention center in the Saudi capital and little more regarding her location or condition is known.More news: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she is running for president