Press Statement: Concern and Disappointment Expressed Over UAE Visit by Mary Robinson
On 24 December, Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, and the wider legal team instructed to represent Sheikha Latifa, issued a statement following the Sky News release that Ms. Mary Robinson had met with Sheikha Latifa, and had confirmed that she was in good health and being looked after by her family.
Concern was expressed within that statement; however, no further comment was made as Mrs. Robinson had not confirmed the attendance or otherwise.
Mrs. Robinson has now appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today Programme’ and confirmed the position, however, despite the assurances given, serious concerns are still held.
On 27 December 2018, Mrs. Mary Robinson, the former UN Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, primarily on the basis of her work regarding Climate Change, and a book that she has recently authored.
Mrs. Robinson was, during that interview, asked a number of questions regarding Sheikha Latifa, and the photographs published.
Her position, is that Sheikha Latifa is a “vulnerable”and “troubled” young woman, and further, that she now “regrets” the video she published which has been seen countless times around the world, and details how she was effectively a prisoner in her own home, and how she has been subjected to systematic abuse by her father, the Ruler of Dubai.
Further, Mrs. Robinson goes on to say that she is now in receipt of psychiatric care, medication, and that she is in being looked after by her family.
With respect to Mrs. Robinson, this does not answer the pertinent questions in respect of this situation and is quite disappointing to see a person of Mrs. Robinson’s stature brushing over what are very serious complaints. This is not a private family matter, there are credible allegations that a number of individuals were unlawfully attacked in international waters, were unlawfully abducted, handcuffed, beaten and detained incommunicado for a lengthy period of time. Mrs. Robinson fails to address this point at all.
Further, it does not answer the questions raised surrounding her treatment that gave rise to escape attempt in the first instance, it does not answer the questions asked surrounding the boarding of the yacht the Nostromo, nor does it answer the questions raised concerning the treatment of those that should to assist Sheikha Latifa.
Mrs. Robinson appears to have spent a couple of hours with Sheikha Latifa, and despite having no formal medial or psychiatric training, has somehow diagnosed her condition and concluded that she is receiving appropriate treatment. It is unclear on what basis Mrs. Robinson considers herself qualified to do so.
Mrs. Robinson suggests that upon Sheikha Latifa boarding the Nostromo, a demand was made for $300 million (three hundred million US Dollars), of which $30 million (thirty million) was to be paid immediately.
This is an entirely new and wholly fabricated allegation, one that does not accord with the statement released by the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and one that is, with respect to Mrs. Robinson, and entirely without foundation and merely a manipulation of the position in an attempt to undermine the credibility of those that assisted Sheikha Latifa with her escape, individuals that were detained and tortured by the State Security Authorities of the UAE.
It is of note that no evidence has been provided that would either support the position advanced by Mrs. Robinson in respect of this matter, or the alternative position that has now been advanced by the Government of the UAE. Further, it does not account for how the authorities have declined to comment for nine months
Mrs. Robinson states that she has spoken to the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, and her predecessor, Mr. Zeid Ra-ad Al Hussein, about the situation, and accordingly, we would ask that both individuals confirm the position.
Further, Mrs. Robinson states in her interview that she has corresponded with the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Mr. Ken Roth, about Sheikha Latifa, again therefore, we would request that Mr. Roth and Human Rights Watch confirm the position.
The reality of the matter is that a young woman, one who made the most serious of allegations against her own family, so serious that she felt that she had no other option but to organise a covert escape out of the country, has not been heard from or seen for a period of 9-months after being detained on a boat near the coast of India.
No explanation has been provided from either the Government of the UAE or the Government of India as to why a yacht in international waters, sailing under the flag of the United States, was boarded by armed forces and its occupants detained and beaten.
No explanation has been provided as to why a number of those on the boat were imprisoned and tortured.
No explanation has been provided as to why Sheikha Latifa has been hidden from view for 9-months, and even now, is prevented from speaking to anyone.
Mrs. Robinson therefore, and for that matter the Government of the UAE, have not assuaged any concerns that are held in respect of the situation or the position that Sheikha finds herself in.
Once again therefore, calls are made for the Government of the UAE to allow Sheikha Latifa to speak to her friends, and for her situation to be confirmed personally.
Further, calls are made of the Government of the UAE to explain as to why their unlawful actions were taken, specifically, the arbitrary detention of, and use of torture against, innocent civilians.