INTERNATIONAL LEGAL TEAM AT GUERNICA 37 IJC EXPRESSES SERIOUS CONCERN OVER THE WELL-BEING OF DUA AND DALA KHALID IN THEIR ATTEMPTS TO SEEK RESETTLEMENT IN A SAFE THIRD STATE.
LONDON, 21 June 2019 – The International Legal Team at Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers instructed by Doaa Khalid and Dalal Khalid, two young women having fled the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to the documented claims of persecution and abuse they have repeatedly suffered over prolonged period, have sought the protection of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Turkey, based on a well-founded fear of ill-treatment in their home State are now seeking resettlement in an unnamed safe third country. The two young women were forced to flee to Turkey where they are now under the protection of the United Nations until their request for resettlement is granted.
The Government of Turkey is reminded of their obligations under National and International Law, in that they are now obliged to protect the sisters, and observe the principle of ‘non-refoulement’.
In early June of 2019, two sisters, Doaa and Dalal Khalid, fled the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, seeking to escape the abuse and oppression they suffered at the hands of members of their family and the systematic abuse that prevails against women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The sisters describe how they were being forced to marry “older, religious men”, and that one of them had been sexually assaulted.
The sisters published their story by way of video, in which they described the years of domestic abuse that they had suffered, and further, that they simply wanted to be free and live their lives.
The two young women fled to Turkey where they have now registered with the UN High Commission for Refugees, and are hopeful of being allowed to settle in as yet unnamed, safe third country, as there is a clear and demonstrable risk to their safety and wellbeing should be they return to the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia.
It has now transpired that there may be attempts from members of their family to seek to compel the Turkish authorities to illegally return the two to their family in Saudi Arabia.
We would therefore remind the Turkish Government of its obligations under national and international law, in that it is required to respect the principle of ‘non-refoulement’, and thus, it is unlawful to return a refugee to the place where their life or freedom would be threatened. This is an obligation that we expect the Turkish authorities to take seriously and ensure that the two young women come to no harm.
All refugees have the Right to Liberty, and, Security of Person, and further, all refugees ought to be able to expect to be protected by the host nation upon being identified as such.
Turkey as a nation can rightly be proud of its history in protecting those fleeing to safety, particularly over recent years and the exodus of civilians from Syria, it would therefore be unconscionable to tarnish that reputation now.
To return the two to Saudi Arabia, where there is credible evidence that they will be mistreated and abused, is not only unlawful, but, sets a very dangerous precedent for any other individual that seeks to flee to safety.