Mary Robinson 'dismayed' at comments on visit to Emirati princess not seen since March

Mary Robinson 'dismayed' at comments on visit to Emirati princess not seen since March

Update: Mary Robinson says she is "dismayed" after a number of comments about her meeting with an Arab princess who had been missing since earlier this year.

The former Irish president has been pictured with the 33-year-old, who had not been seen in months.

Princess Latifa - the daughter of the ruler of Dubai - failed in an attempt to escape the United Arab Emirates on a yacht earlier this year.

In a video filmed before the escape effort and posted online after her subsequent disappearance, Latifa claimed she had been tortured.

She said: "If you are watching this video, it's not such a good thing. Either I'm dead or I'm in a very, very, very bad situation."

Following her disappearance from public view in March, human rights groups had raised concerns about her safety.

In the wake of their meeting earlier this month, Mrs Robinson - who is also the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - says the princess is in the care of her family.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Mrs Robinson explained: "The dilemma was that Latifa is vulnerable, she's troubled. She made a video that she now regrets and she planned an escape, or what was part of a plan of escape.

"I had lunch with her. She's a very likeable young woman but clearly troubled, clearly needs the medical care that she is receiving."

However, a number of rights groups have continued to express concern over Latifa's well-being.

Radha Stirling, CEO of the Detained in Dubai group, claimed the former Irish president "appeared to be reciting almost verbatim from Dubai’s script".

She observed: "Mrs Robinson’s comments about the meeting reveal nothing concrete about Latifa’s condition and serve only to promote Dubai’s attempt to avoid any serious enquiry.

"We are very happy that Latifa is alive, but are cognisant of the fact that she herself said that she would rather die than be returned to her father’s custody, and thus, continue to have grave concerns about her welfare."

In a statement released this morning, Mrs Robinson said: "I am dismayed at some of the media comments on my visit and I would like to say I undertook the visit and made an assessment, not a judgement, based on personal witness, in good faith and to the best of my ability."

She adds that she has prepared a report for Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, adding that she believes any future action "rests with that office".

Earlier: Mary Robinson describes Emirati princess not seen since March as a 'troubled young woman'

Mary Robinson has described an Emirati princess who had been feared missing as a 'troubled young woman who needed psychiatric help'.

The former president has been pictured with the 33-year-old, who hadn't been seen in months, and says she's in the loving care of her family.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum failed in an attempt to escape Dubai earlier this year, claiming she had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her family.

Human rights groups had raised concerns about her safety because she hadn't been seen in public or heard from since she was returned home in March.

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