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.  

Media Contact: 

Justin Russell 

Principal Director 


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