A spokeswoman for the United Nations (UN) human rights office says the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has so far failed to provide proof of life for Princess Latifa, a daughter of the ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE who has been held captive since she attempted to flee her home country.
The UN rights office asked the UAE for proof of life for Latifa on February 18, two days after the BBC’s Panorama news program broadcast a video showing the princess saying that she was being held against her will at a barricaded villa.
The Emirati princess said she was making the video in the bathroom of the villa, the only room she could lock herself into. “I just want to be free,” she said.
The princess’ friends have said they are concerned for her safety as she hasn’t been heard from since she stopped responding to text messages last summer.
Last month, the UAE said Latifa was being cared for at home by family and medical professionals.
But the UAE has not as of yet produced any proof that she is even alive.
“We haven’t got any proof of life, and we would like one, one that is clear, compelling evidence that she is alive. Our first concern of course is to be sure of that, that she is still alive,” UN human rights spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said at a briefing in Geneva on Friday.
Princess Latifa first drew international attention in 2018, when she announced in a video that she was fleeing the UAE because of mistreatment and restrictions imposed by her family.
However, a source close to the Dubai government said on April 17 that year that the runaway princess had been “brought back” to the Arab country.
In March 2020, a court in London confirmed assertions made by the Dubai ruler’s former wife, Princess Haya, in a legal battle, including that the ruler had ordered the abduction of Latifa.
Hurtado said senior UN officials had sought a meeting with the Emirati ambassador in Geneva about Latifa, which has been agreed in principle.
She further said that they also planned to raise the case of her older sister, Shamsa.
In August 2000, and about two months after fleeing her father’s Longcross Estate in Surrey during the family’s annual UK holiday, Shamsa, who is now almost 39, was forcibly taken from Cambridge and flown by a helicopter to France and then by a private jet back to Dubai, and she has not been seen in public since.
Last February, BBC also reported that Princess Latifa had urged British police in a letter to re-investigate the alleged abduction of her older sister.