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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

United Nations demand answers on enforced disappearance of Sheikha Latifa

Press Conference regarding the disappearance of Sheikha Latifa

The United Nations has demanded answers from the United Arab Emirates over the enforced disappearance of Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, and all those abducted from the US registered yacht Nostromo in international waters two months ago. Until today, the UAE has refused to officially comment on Latifa’s escape and her subsequent capture at sea. There is no information about her exact whereabouts or her wellbeing.

On March 4th, 2018, Princess Latifa Al Maktoum’s attempt to escape ‘years of abuse’ at the hands of her father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; the Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE; came to a sudden and violent end. She, and all those accompanying her, were abducted by Emirates forces during a raid conducted jointly by the UAE and Indian coast Guard against the American yacht that was delivering them to what they hoped was safety.

All on board Nostromo were subsequently released, after several days of abuse, intimidation, and threats of execution; but Latifa Al Maktoum has not been heard of since the raid. She is presumably in UAE custody against her will, and there is a high probability that she is being subjected to abuse.

The case has raised concerns across the globe and severely damaged the international image of the UAE, and the reputation of Sheikh Mohammed personally. Despite the mounting public pressure, the UAE has remained silent over the case.

India too has yet to issue an official explanation about its involvement in the illegal raid on a US vessel in international waters. Media outlets in India have reported that Prime Minister Modi approved the operation without any official diplomatic procedures, after a phone call from Sheikh Mohammed.

The United Nations has thus stepped in to find answers.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, says, “As soon as Latifa and all onboard Nostromo went missing, we contacted authorities in India and in the UAE seeking assurances of their safety; two months later, they are still refusing to even acknowledge that the incident took place. Frankly, it is a disgrace that India and the UAE have not come forward until now, and that a United Nations enquiry even needs to be made. Latifa is an adult woman who was seeking political asylum so that she could escape what she alleged was abuse and restrictions on her personal freedom since she was a minor. People all over the world have seen her testimony in the video she recorded prior to her escape, and every day her plight is drawing more and more attention in the international media. The conspiracy of silence being perpetrated by the UAE and India is only increasing the pressure for answers about Latifa’s condition, and the demand for her release.

“We are very glad to see the United Nations investigate this crime, and we are hopeful that this will lead not only to Latifa’s freedom, but to a greater overall level of accountability for the UAE by the international community.”

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