UN experts demand “concrete information” on Sheikha Latifa’s fate
United Nations issues series of demands to UAE as Cambridgeshire police request Free Latifa campaign provide copies of new evidence concerning UAEs earlier kidnap of Princess Shamsa
LONDON: 20 April 2021
The Free Latifa campaign welcomes today’s demand from the United Nations that the UAE immediately release hostage Dubai Princess Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, daughter of the ruler of Dubai.
A statement issued today by human rights experts at the UN demanded the UAE provide “Evidence of life and assurances regarding her well-being are urgently required“ and “independent verification of the conditions under which she is being held”, and “her immediate release.“
David Haigh, a human rights lawyer and co-founder of the Free Latifa campaign, said: “We welcome the actions of the United Nations today in calling on Dubai to immediately release Sheikha Latifa. The eyes of the world must now be firmly fixed on the UAE, Latifa’s father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of the UAE and the Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
“If the UAE do not release Latifa, then the international community must take action against Dubai. We confirm that Rodney Dixon QC and our legal team will be applying to the Foreign Office for sanctions to be implemented against those responsible for the continued and grave abuses of Latifa’s human rights, including her father, the Dubai ruler. Similar sanction requests will also be made in the EU and the United States.”
Princess Latifa’s lawyerRodney Dixon QC said: “The UN has made clear that a full verifiable answer is required from the UAE authorities without any further delay. The only way to know that Princess Latifa is safe is for her to be released immediately.”
Tiina Jauhiainen the best friend of Princess Latifa who was kidnapped by the UAE alongside Latifa added: “The last time we heard from Latifa was almost a year ago and not having any news about her is devastating. It’s time that world leaders and the international community support the call of the UN for Latifa’s immediate release.”
The Free Latifa campaign and Latifa’s legal team first submitted a complaint to the United Nations in March 2018 and assisted with the United Nations investigation. During the 3 year United Nations investigation, considerable evidence of the abuses of Latifa’s human rights have been provided. The campaign team has visited the United Nations on numerous occasions to give oral and documentary evidence. In February, David Haigh, Tiina Jauhiainen, Rodney Dixon QC and Latifa’s cousin Marcus Essabri took part in a video call where unedited videos from Princess Latifa discussing the abuse of her and the perpetrators of it was played.
The United Nations demand comes as the Cambridgeshire police contacted Free Latifa co-founder David Haigh to request the evidence held on the kidnap of Latifa’s sister Sheikha Shamsa from Cambridge.
The statement from the United Nations is at the end of this release.
About Free Latifa
Princess Latifa stands for every person, especially every woman, who is held against their will, having done nothing wrong. The Free Latifa Campaign is run by Latifa’s family, closest friends, supporters and advisors. It is headed by Latifa’s best friend, Tiina Jauhiainen as Campaign Director, a human rights lawyer and campaigner David Haigh, Latifa’s cousin Marcus Essabri, and Latifa’s close friends Stephania Martinengo and Marco Remes. The campaign also benefits from the support of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Detained International and a growing number of Latifa’s family, supporters, media, lawyers, politicians and celebrities around the world. The campaign is about positivity and love. We have one goal, to #FreeLatifa. Updates on the campaign can be found on www.freelatifa.com
Press Contact – Campaign to Free Latifa
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GENEVA (20 April 2021) – UN human rights experts* today called on the Government of the United Arab Emirates to provide meaningful information on the fate of Sheikha Latifa Mohammed Al Maktoum, as well as assurances of her safety and well-being, without delay. Sheikha Latifa is the daughter of the Emir of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
“We are alarmed that, following the public release in February of footage in which Sheikha Latifa reported being deprived of her liberty against her will, and the subsequent official request for further information on her situation, no concrete information has been provided by the authorities,” said the experts.
Several independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said they were troubled by the allegations of human rights violations against Sheikha Latifa, and of the possible threat to her life.
“The statement issued by the Emirates authorities’ merely indicating that she was being ‘cared for at home’ is not sufficient at this stage,” the experts said.
Since Sheikha Latifa’s reported abduction while attempting to flee the country in 2018, a number of UN experts have raised concerns with the Emirati Government about her alleged enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention, and the violation of her right, as a woman, to live a life free of discrimination and violence.
According to the information received, she continues to be deprived of liberty, with no access to the outside world. “Her continued incommunicado detention can have harmful physical and psychological consequences and may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” said the experts.
“Evidence of life and assurances regarding her well-being are urgently required,” they said, calling for independent verification of the conditions under which she is being held, and for her immediate release.
*The experts: Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Chair-Rapporteur), Mr. Henrikas Mickevičius, (Vice Chair), Ms. Aua Balde, Mr. Bernard Duhaime and Mr. Luciano Hazan, Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Mr. Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Ms.Elizabeth Broderick (Chair), Ms.Melissa Upreti (Vice Chair), Ms . Dorothy Estrada Tanck, Ms. Ivana Radačić, and Ms . Meskerem Geset Techane, Working Group on discrimination against women and girls; and Ms. Dubravka Simonovic, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.
Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.