“I am a hostage,” Latifa said in a video. “Every day I worry about my safety and my life. I don’t really know if I will survive the situation. The police are threatening me that I will be in prison all my life and that I will never see the sun again.
Her case made global headlines, and the United Nations was among those to express concern for her safety at the time, pledging to investigate and demanding “proof of life” for the princess.
Friday, the UN tweeted an image showing Latifa standing next to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile, after a private meeting.
“@mbachelet met Sheikha Latifa of Dubai, at her request, in Paris,” the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said. said online. “After the introduction with Latifa’s legal counsel, the High Commissioner and Latifa met privately. Latifa let the High Commissioner know that she was fine and expressed her wish to respect her privacy.
The UN human rights body confirmed to the Washington Post on Saturday that a meeting took place between the two women in late November 2021 in Paris, while Bachelet was on his way to Burkina Faso and Niger for official visits. .
“As you will recall, there had been serious concerns earlier in 2021 about his situation, and we had publicly called for proof of life. This one-on-one meeting held privately in a hotel in Paris of course satisfies that,” UN spokeswoman Liz Throssell told The Post.
“Mr. Niri Shan of Taylor Wessing law firm attended the first part of the meeting. Sheikha Latifa told the High Commissioner that he was her legal adviser. between the High Commissioner and Sheikha Latifa alone,” Throssell added.
“Latifa has made it known to the High Commissioner that she wishes her privacy to be respected. Of course we respect that. It would be up to her to comment further if she wished.
It was not immediately clear why news of the November meeting was emerging now.
.@mbachelet met the Sheikha Latifa of Dubai, at her request, in Paris. After introduction with Latifa’s legal counsel, the High Commissioner and Latifa met privately. Latifa informed the High Commissioner that she was fine and expressed her wish to respect her privacy. pic.twitter.com/2VxLwVAMe0
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) February 18, 2022
Latifa’s father, Maktoum, is vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, a wealthy emirate home to around 3 million people.
UK outlet Sky News said separately that it had obtained a statement on Latifa’s behalf which confirmed she had met Bachelet “to assert her right to privacy, following continued media speculation about her”.
The statement continued: “Latifa would like to make it clear that she lives as she wishes, travels as she wishes, is completely fine and would like the media to allow her to live in peace.”
The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post on Saturday.
Some of Latifa’s friends and activist groups representing her had previously questioned the images posted of her since 2018. In recent years, photos on Instagram have shown her in a mall in Dubai and others of her in Spain and Iceland – but questions remain about how much personal freedom she had.
Activist groups representing the princess had said Latifa tried to escape from captivity using a yacht she was traveling in in 2018. The boat was intercepted in international waters near India by an unknown but heavily armed group. Maktoum later described the action as a “rescue mission” and suggested that those who had helped his daughter in her escape attempt were trying to extort money from her family.
David Haigh, a human rights lawyer and senior member of the Free Latifa campaign, which has since stopped, told the Post on Saturday that he was “pleased to see the news” of the meeting in Paris between the official from the UN and Latifa.
“It was [in] In April 2021, the United Nations requested commitments from Dubai regarding the safety and well-being of Latifa…I now hope that Dubai and the wider UAE will begin to respect, promote and protect the human rights of all their citizens and expatriates,” he said.