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UN seeks Emirates for ‘proof of life’ for missing princess

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BERLIN (AP) – The UN Office of Human Rights said on Friday it had asked the UAE for evidence that an Emirati princess held against her will for nearly three years was still alive.

The office of the Geneva-based High Commissioner for Human Rights said the issue of Sheikh Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum was raised with the UAE mission to the UN on Thursday.

Earlier this week the BBC released excerpts from video diaries Sheikha Latifa said they were recorded in a closed bathroom inside the villa in Dubai where it was being held. She was stopped by commandos off the coast of India in 2018 after trying to flee Dubai on a yacht.

“We raised our concerns about the situation in light of the disturbing video evidence that emerged this week,” Elizabeth Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office, told reporters. “We asked for more information and clarifications regarding the current situation of Sheikha Latifa.”

“We have sought proof of life,” she added.

The princess’s friends have said they are worried about her safety because she has not been heard from since she stopped replying to text messages six months ago. The 35-year-old princess is the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the hereditary ruler of Dubai who also serves as the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates.

Throssell stressed that it was standard practice for the UN human rights office to investigate individual cases within its mandate. “This includes cases for whatever reason that have attracted wider attention.”

“Given the serious concerns regarding Sheika Latifa, we have demanded that the government’s response come as a matter of priority,” she added. “We look forward to receiving and considering this response.”

“In the meantime, of course, we will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation,” Throssell said.

The case of Sheikha Latifa was previously raised by independent rights experts appointed by the global body.

In December, the UN Working Group on Forced or Voluntary Disappearances announced that it had decided to consider the case of Sheikha Latifa, “who is said to be being held in custody at her family home in Dubai.”

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