Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right, walks with Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Immigration police via AP
Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right, walks with Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Immigration police via AP
Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, foreground walks by Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right, before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Immigration police via AP
Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, foreground walks by Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right, before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Immigration police via AP
Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, second left, shakes hand with Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Immigration police via AP
Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, second left, shakes hand with Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Immigration police via AP
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun leaves the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: AP
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun leaves the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: AP
Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right talks to Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, second left, before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Immigration police via AP
Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right talks to Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, second left, before leaving the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Immigration police via AP
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun views her mobile phone as she sits barricaded in a hotel room at an international airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Alqunun says she is fleeing abuse by her family and wants asylum in Australia. Picture: Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun/Human Rights Watch via AP
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun views her mobile phone as she sits barricaded in a hotel room at an international airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Alqunun says she is fleeing abuse by her family and wants asylum in Australia. Picture: Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun/Human Rights Watch via AP
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun sits barricaded in a hotel room at an international airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Alqunun says she is fleeing abuse by her family and wants asylum in Australia. (Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun/Human Rights Watch via AP)
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun sits barricaded in a hotel room at an international airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Alqunun says she is fleeing abuse by her family and wants asylum in Australia. (Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun/Human Rights Watch via AP)
A passport copy of Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun sits on the desk as Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn talks to media about her status during a press conference at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
A passport copy of Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun sits on the desk as Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn talks to media about her status during a press conference at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
UNHCR representative Giuseppe de Vincentiis, left, and Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right, arrive at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
UNHCR representative Giuseppe de Vincentiis, left, and Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, right, arrive at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn talks to media about the status Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun during a press conference at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn talks to media about the status Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun during a press conference at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP

Bangkok — Human Rights Watch has called on the Australian government to allow entry to a Saudi Arabian woman who's being processed by UN refugee authorities in Thailand after fleeing her homeland.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun was detained after arriving in Bangkok on Saturday, but has come under the protection of the UN's refugee agency after refusing to return home.

Alqunun, who says she is fleeing abuse by her family and wants asylum in Australia, has sent out desperate pleas for help over social media. She began posting on Twitter late Saturday after her passport was taken away when she arrived on a flight from Kuwait. 

The 18-year-old says she had a visa to continue to Australia, but media reports say the Australian government has now cancelled it. Australian officials have not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Human Rights Watch's Australian director Elaine Pearson says since Australia has expressed concern in the past about women's rights in Saudi Arabia, it should "come forward and offer protection for this young woman."

AP