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Guernica 37 Appears at the Session of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

Sheikha Latifa remains missing with no information having been released confirming her whereabouts, or her current physical condition, despite there being calls made of the United Arab Emirates to release such information, and further, calls made of the Government of India to confirm their involvement in the circumstances that gave rise to her disappearance.

On 14 September 2018, Toby Cadman, Head of Chambers at Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, along with Radha Stirling and David Haigh of ‘Detained in Dubai’, addressed the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID), again highlighting the case of Sheikha Latifa and her ongoing disappearance.

Sheikha Latifa Mohammed Al Maktoum, is the 33 year-old daughter of the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

On or about 4 March 2018, as part of a joint UAE-India military operation, the US-flagged ship, the Nostromo, was attacked in international waters and Sheikha Latifa, along with five other persons, was abducted, as she was in the process of escaping the alleged oppressive and authoritarian influence of her father.

Video recordings of Sheikha Latifa have previously been released, in which she outlines how she has lived her life as a prisoner, in that she is not allowed to be free to make her own decisions, free to go where she wishes, and is constantly under the rule of her father’s Regime who dictates every element of her life.

Immediately prior to her being detained on the Nostromo, she recorded a video in which she can be heard to say “Please help.  Please please there are men outside, I don’t know what is happening”.

The men referred to, are believed to be members of the Indian Coastguard, and members of the UAE Army/Navy, who stopped, and unlawfully boarded the Nostromo in international waters, on the orders of the UAE authorities.

Sheikha Latifa had been helped to get that far, by friend Ms. Tiina Jauhiainen, and Mr. Herve Jaubert, the Captain of the Nostromo, both of whom were also detained, and both of whom were subjected to death threats, and beaten, by the Indian and UAE authorities.

Both Jauhiainen and Jaubert have since been released, however, Sheikha Latifa remains missing.

Guernica 37 have previously filed a Petition of Complaint to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance, who, having deemed the complaint to be admissible, have communicated the position to both the Governments of India, and the UAE, inviting their response. However, it has thus far been met with silence, and therefore ignorance on the part of those Governments, both of whom seek to take an active part in the work of the United Nations and who claim to have a commitment to human rights.

The hearing of 14 September 2018 enabled the Working Group to be provided with an update as to the current position, including the submission of new information concerning Sheikha Latifa’s disappearance.

Despite the silence from the Indian and Emirati authorities, the matter remains open and ongoing, with both the UN Working Group, and Guernica 37 in conjunction with Detained in Dubai as her appointed legal representatives, actively investigating the matter.

At the conclusion of the closed-door session, further information was provided to the Working Group on the circumstances of the abduction and the fate and whereabouts of Sheikha Latifa that is expected to be communicated to the two Respondent States within the coming days.

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