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Monday 25 March 2019

No regrets - Robinson defends meeting Princess Latifa in Dubai

Mary Robinson says she gave a full account to the UN. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Mary Robinson says she gave a full account to the UN. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

Former President Mary Robinson has said she has no regrets about her controversial visit to Dubai to Princess Latifa, saying 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 as a "troubled young woman".

The princess is the daughter of the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

She reportedly tried to flee the UAE last year, though her attempted bid to get away was thwarted after it was alleged security forces from the UAE snatched her from a yacht off the coast of India in March.

Asked about the visit after she launched Green Week at Trinity College yesterday afternoon, 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 said she would still speak out on human rights issues in the UAE "where appropriate", insisting that "I haven't changed my spots".

"I gave a written report just after I went and then I saw her [Ms Bachelet] in mid-January when I went to Geneva for a meeting on sustainable development goals and human rights. I gave her a full account and I asked that her office would follow up on it."

A photograph of Ms Robinson and the princess was released late last year by the UAE government after the meeting on December 15.

It prompted speculation about the princess and how the meeting came to pass.

Ms Robinson has previously said she was "dismayed" at the media coverage of the visit.

Irish Independent

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