Tuesday 15 October 2019

'I went to help a friend' - Mary Robinson says she doesn't regret controversial visit with princess in Dubai

Controversy: Mary Robinson, right, met Princess Sheikha Latifa in Dubai
Controversy: Mary Robinson, right, met Princess Sheikha Latifa in Dubai
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

FORMER President of Ireland Mary Robinson has said she has no regrets about her controversial visit to Dubai to Princess Latifa, stating that she has given the United Nations (UN) a written report on the trip.

Ms Robinson – a former UN High Commissioner for human rights - has been widely criticised by human rights groups across the world following the visit, in which she described the princess, who had tried to flee Dubai as a “troubled young woman”.

Speaking to reporters at Trinity College, Ms Robinson said she met with current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet last month and “gave her a full account” of the visit.

Ms Robinson added that she would still speak out on human rights issues in the United Arab Emirates “where appropriate”.

“I gave a written report just after I went and then I saw her (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) in mid January when I went to Geneva for a meeting on sustainable development goals and human rights,” Ms Robinson said.

“I gave her a full account and I asked that her office would follow up on it, that’s what should happen insofar as possible,” she added.

Asked if she regretted travelling to the United Arab Emirates to visit the princess, Ms Robinson said:

“No, because I went to help a friend and she’s the only member of the royal family that I met or that I know, and we’re friends," she said.

“I have spoken out before about human rights in the UAE, I haven’t changed my spots, I will speak out again where appropriate, nothing has changed."

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