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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

​Should Ivanka Trump be headlining the “Global Women’s Forum” in Dubai, while Sheikh Mohammed’s own

Ivanka in Dubai. Speaking for women’s rights, but is she being used?

Should Ivanka Trump be headlining the “Global Women’s Forum” in Dubai, while rape victims are jailed for adultery, while male guardianship prevails and while Sheikh Mohammed’s own daughters remain in custody with torture claims?

Ivanka Trump is headlining a summit this week in Dubai, that focuses on women’s issues and their development in the workplace.

In recent years the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, has invested substantial time and money to convince the world that the emirate is leading the way for the rights of women in the Middle East. On International Women’s Day the ruler even posted messages designed to showcase his pro female credentials.

However observers of the Middle East are cynical, telling us that deeds, not words are important in the UAE; a country which still allows male guardianship practices. These laws mean allow a husband or male family member to preside over whether a woman can work, marry or travel. While this practice is not embraced by a growing number of men in the country, men are still able to control women should they wish. Detained in Dubai has even seen Western men take advantage of these local laws and prevent their wives from working, or prevent them from travelling.

The legal and enforcement sector further shows a clear bias towards men and in a number of high profile cases, female rape victims have been jailed for “sex outside marriage” while prostitution is openly accepted throughout the country.

The ruler attracted worldwide media attention when his daughter Sheikha Latifa made a break for freedom by sea with the help of former French spy Hervé Jaubert. Sheikh Mohammed famously sent a naval task force to illegally recapture her in international waters, with the help of Prime Minister Modi and Indian special forces.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai was instructed by Sheikha Latifa in a series of desperate phone calls and Whatsapp messages while the princess and her team were being chased by Sheikh Mohammed and PM Modi’s military forces.

“Ivanka Trump is clearly working hard to push women’s agendas worldwide,” says Stirling, “but she needs to be careful that the UAE regime doesn’t proclaim her involvement to be supportive of the ruler’s cruelty to the women in his own family.”

“The whole world knows about Princess Latifa’s capture and how she has been treated. Her pre-recorded video testimony paints a clear picture of how the ruler views the women in his own life, detailing similar cruelty to other daughters Shamsa and Fatma Numara.

“Sheikh Mohammed’s female family members are given little to no freedom to make their own choices, to travel and and to decide with whom they wish to share their lives. This is in complete contrast to the freedom given to male members of the UAE royal family.

“Ivanka speaking at this conference can be positive, provided she makes clear she in no way accepts mistreatment of any women in the UAE; and that she puts pressure on Sheikh Mohammed to lead by example and to treat the women in his own family with the freedom and equality he claims to be promoting for all of his female subjects.

“If Ivanka is strong enough to do this, it will be a great step towards equality for women in the region.”

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