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Dubai’s “missing Princess” is pictured in Paris with UN Human Rights High Commissioner – but many still question her freedom

After many months of absence from the public eye, Princess Latifa, daughter of the Ruler of Dubai, has reappeared in public. 

On 18 February, the UN Human Rights Council posted a picture on its Twitter account depicting Princess Latifa next to UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet. 

The picture was taken in Paris, although its timing was put in question since Christmas lights appear in the background. 

The tweet continues saying: “Latifa conveyed to the High Commissioner that she was well & expressed her wish for respect for her privacy.”

This expression is supported by a statement released on behalf of Princess Latifa, that says, in part: “Latifa would like to make clear that she is living as she wishes, that she is travelling as she wishes, that she is perfectly well and that she would like the media to allow her to live in peace.”

This comes as the speculations about her freedom ran rampant, after the Princess posted a series of videos, exclusively released to Sky News, saying that she was being held hostage in a villa in Dubai by her father and the rest of the family, following an escape attempt through the Indian Ocean. 

Her father, the UAE’s Prime Minister, has stated instead that Latifa was forced to escape by criminals that held her for ransom and that her repatriation to Dubai was a “rescue mission.”

Since those videos, Sheikha Latifa has appeared in some other images online, including for a trip in August 2021 with her cousin. From that moment, the group Free Latifa, who had formed to ensure the royal’s freedom, has wound down. One of its founders has said that he is “pleased” to see the pictures and has expressed his hope that this story shines a spotlight on the real human rights record of Dubai. 

Princess Latifa’s story is not the only one shaking the Emirate. The alleged escape of Princess Haya, second official wife of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also attracted intense media speculation about the actual human rights situation in Dubai, and the divorce proceedings that have been taking place in the UK, where Princess Haya sought refuge with her two children, have made headlines around the world. They are also the reason why Princess Latifa’s story has gained so much spotlight. 

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