WASHINGTON, DC [22 FEB 2021] – The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) continues to monitor the disturbing and developing information surrounding the kidnapping and detention of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Our leadership grows increasingly concerned by these events. It is quite clear that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, is illegally and immorally holding his own daughter Princess Latifa against her will in conditions that can only be classified as unjust.
After Princess Latifa’s attempted escape from Dubai in 2018, she was forcibly detained and returned to the UAE by Indian and UAE armed forces. Since Princess Latifa’s detainment, she has been in contact with individuals close to her, and she filmed video messages about her current living conditions. In one of her video messages, she described the conditions she is currently living in. She has stated she is in solitary confinement; the windows are barred shut, and she has no visible daylight. Not only is our organization troubled by the treatment of Princess Latifa by those in the UAE, but we are increasingly troubled by the lack of response, especially from the UN, the U.S. and other western democracies.
We note that the acting UN human rights commissioner in December 2018 visited Dubai and had a luncheon with Princess Latifa and one of Sheikh Mohammed’s wives, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. After a troubling video of Princess Latifa explaining her attempted escape came out and individuals close to the Princess have spoken out about her mistreatment, the luncheon took place. The former UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson who was in attendance at the luncheon never once asked Princess Latifa about her wellbeing and if she was being held against her will. For someone who is supposed to advocate for human rights, she did not question Princess Latfia and what was going on at home. There is no coincidence that in April 2019, Princess Hayarincess Haya Bint Al Hussein escaped from Dubai to the UK with her two children. Moreover, according to BBC, Sheikh Mohammed started proceedings in British courts to have his two children with Princess Hayarincess Haya Bint Al Hussein returned to Dubai; they found that Sheikh Mohammed was responsible for the abduction and the forced return of Latifa to Dubai.
The UAE, a country that says that they advocate strongly for women’s rights and human rights, appears to be the same individuals whose actions prove precisely the opposite. Our organization has proven repeatedly that the UAE is a known aggressor and is known for their continuous violations of human rights in their country and others like Libya and Yemen. NYCFPA calls on Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Biden Administration to step in and request the immediate release and proof of life, Princess Latifa. As a country, if we advocate for human rights and freedom of expression, that must apply to all countries. To excuse actions such as this will create a ripple effect with what the UAE believes they can get away with Justin Russell, the NYCFPA’s Principal Director, states, “Our organization demands the immediate release of Princess Latifa. It amazes me how a father could treat his own child as violent criminal.”
Russell adds, “It also amazes me how the U.S. views the UAE as a true ally even with continued evidence of violations of human rights, egregious offensive actions in Libya and Yemen, and alleged criminal activity by their own Central Bank against U.S. law. If the UAE wants to be an ally to the United States, they should start acting like one.”
About The New York Center For Foreign Policy Affairs
The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is a policy, research, and educational organization headquartered in New York State with an office in Washington D.C. NYCFPA is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, institution devoted to conducting in-depth research and analysis on every aspect of American foreign policy and its impact around the world.