Dubai Princess Latifa Pictured With UN Human Rights Chief, Claims She is 'Living as She Wishes'
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Tiina Jauhiainen / Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al MaktoumLatifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Tiina Jauhiainen / Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
In 2021 Dubai's Princess Latifa landed in the spotlight after the BBC broadcast videos she had allegedly recorded over the past two years, claiming she had been imprisoned for three years and beaten after her first escape attempt at the age of 16. The woman accused her father of mistreating her and other relatives.
Dubai’s Princess Latifa has appeared in a photo alongside the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, with a statement provided to Sky News on her behalf saying that she "is living as she wishes."
"Sheikha Latifa would like to state that she had a lengthy, positive and private meeting in Paris with the High Commissioner to assert her right to a private life, following persistent media speculation about her,” said the statement.
It went on to assert that Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, daughter of the ruler of Dubai,"would like to make clear that she is living as she wishes, that she is travelling as she wishes, that she is perfectly well and that she would like the media to allow her to live in peace."
.@mbachelet has met Dubai’s Sheikha Latifa, at latter’s request, in Paris. After introduction with Latifa’s legal advisor, the High Commissioner & Latifa met in private. Latifa conveyed to the High Commissioner that she was well & expressed her wish for respect for her privacy. pic.twitter.com/2VxLwVAMe0— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) February 18, 2022
The image was posted in a tweet sent from the UN Humans Rights Twitter account, with the caption saying that Ms. Bachelet "has met Dubai's Sheikha Latifa, at [the] latter's request, in Paris".
After geolocating the photo, Sky News confirmed it was taken on Boulevard Haussmann in central Paris.
This comes almost exactly a year after the publication of videos in which the princess – one of 25 children of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, who is also the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - accused her family of holding her hostage in Dubai.
On 17 February 2021 video messages obtained by UK media outlets showed the young woman accusing her father of mistreating her and other relatives. She also alleged that she'd been imprisoned for three years and beaten after her first attempt to escape at the age of 16.
Princess Latifa first tried to escape from her family in March 2018, but was brought back to Dubai in what the royal family said was a rescue mission after she was ostensibly tricked by criminals who wanted money.
As the UN and world leaders expressed concern for the princess, the Dubai royal family issued a statement, saying that the videos recorded by Latifa were "not reflective of the actual position".
In May 2021, a photo was posted to social media showing the royal in public for the first time after the release of the bombshell videos, with more images to follow.
Thus, once dated August 2021 showed her in Iceland with a woman and her cousin, Marcus Essabri. However, supporters of the princess expressed concerns whether she was truly free.
David Haigh, who co-founded the Free Latifa group, an organisation campaigning for the princess’ freedom until the effort wound down after the photos on social media, was cited by Sky News as saying:
"I am pleased to see the news from the United Nations that it's High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet has recently met with Princess Latifa in Paris… I hope now that Dubai and the wider UAE will start to respect, promote and protect the human rights all all its citizens and expats."