January 10, 2019

#SaveRahaf: What will become of the Saudi teen?

On this episode of The Stream we discuss three stories at the top of the week’s headlines that are rooted in the struggle for human rights.

On this episode of The Stream we discuss three stories at the top of the week’s headlines that are rooted in the struggle for human rights.

Trump’s Border Visit:
US President Donald Trump heads to Texas on Thursday in an attempt to bolster his case for building a wall between the US-Mexico border. The president is expected to meet with border patrol officers to discuss what he calls a “humanitarian and national security crisis”, a characterisation his opponents disagree with. Trump’s visit comes as a dispute over funding for the proposed wall has led to a partial government shutdown and a stalemate between the White House and Democrats in Congress who now control the house. The president has said he might consider declaring a national emergency, allowing him to begin construction, if Congress won’t fund the project. We discuss the issue from both sides of the border with Al Jazeera correspondents John Holman and Kimberley Halkett.

Rahaf Alqunun:
The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees announced on Wednesday that it had granted refugee status to Rahaf Alqunun. Over the weekend, the Saudi teenager fled from her family while in Kuwait and flew to Thailand where she barricaded herself inside a Bangkok hotel. The 18-year-old claims she is the victim of physical and psychological abuse by her family. Thai officials had initially threatened to deport Alqunun but reversed course over concerns for her safety. Alqunun says she is certain she’ll be jailed if she is sent back to Saudi Arabia. The case has received international attention with many people posting words of encouragement on Twitter. Alqunun is seeking asylum in Australia where officials there have hinted her request is likely to succeed. We’ll discuss these latest developments with a human rights advocate whose organisation has been helping Alqunun with her case.

Cyntoia Brown:
The governor of the US state of Tennessee on Monday granted Cyntoia Brown, a woman sentenced to life in prison at the age of 16, clemency. The now 30-year-old was convicted in the 2004 murder of a man authorities say picked her up at a drive-in. Brown and her lawyers have maintained she was a victim of sex trafficking and feared for her life. During her time in prison, Brown received her GED and began taking college courses. In fact, she’s one course away from graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb University. Her case drew national US attention with celebrities and juvenile justice advocates calling for her release. Brown, who is scheduled to be released in August, says she thankful for the governor’s mercy and will work hard to not let him down. We’ll discuss the case with a documentary filmmaker who has followed Brown’s story from the beginning and ask what her case means for others in the juvenile justice system.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
John Holman @johnholman100
Al Jazeera correspondent 

Kimberly Halkett @KimberlyHalkett
White House correspondent, Al Jazeera English

Daniel Birman @DanBirman
Director, Me Facing Life 2: Cyntoia’s Fight For Freedom

Melissa Potter @MelissaPotterPR
Spokesperson, Odyssey Impact

Brad Adams @BradMAdams
Asia director, Human Rights Watch

Read more: 
Trump demands broder wall; Dems say he deals in 'fear, not facts' - Al Jazeera 
One step closer to Australia for Saudi teen Rahaf Alqunun - Al Jazeera 
Cyntoia Brown, sentenced to life at the age of 16, gets clemency - Al Jazeera 

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