The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is to investigate the case of Princess Latifa, the daughter of Dubai's ruler.

The 35-year-old has not been seen in public for almost two years.

The case of Princess Latifa, her safety and whereabouts, continued to echo in diplomatic corridors today.

The UN High Commission for Human Rights said it would be raising the issue with the authorities in the United Arab Emirates.

That move was welcomed by her lawyer, Rodney Dixon.

''We're hoping it will be decisive in finally getting Princess Latifa released and safe. The UN at the highest level can, and should, now intervene to make sure this happens as soon as possible," he said.

The renewed focus has been prompted by videos obtained by BBC's Panorama and aired last night, in which the 35-year-old said she feared for her life and was being held against her will by her father, the ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum denies any wrongdoing.

The Sheikh has extensive business interests in Ireland, including the Kildangan stud in Kildare where over 200 people are employed.

Today, Amnesty International Ireland said the Irish government should use whatever influence it can to intervene.

Its executive director, Colm O'Gorman said: ''All states, including Ireland, should be using every opportunity at their disposal, be that because of diplomatic, business or sporting links, to engage the UAE authorities.

"They should publicly denounce their human rights record, particularly on freedom of expression and they should use whatever leverage they have to ensure the release of Princess Latifa.''

The Department  of Foreign Affairs said it will be awaiting the findings from the UNHCR but described the reports as "very concerning".

In a statement, it said: ''These reports are very concerning. We note that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has indicated that it will be raising the case with the UAE authorities, and we await the outcome of their engagement.''

Today, a spokesperson for Mary Robinson, who visited the princess in 2018 and subsequently said she was misled surrounding the circumstances, said she would be making no further comment at this stage.

Friends of the Princess Latifa are now seriously concerned about her welfare.


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Earlier, a researcher at Amnesty International's Beirut office said video clips of Princess Latifa were disturbing.

Devin Kenney, who is an expert on the United Arab Emirates, said the footage confirms many credible findings that have already been made by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Mr Kenney said Princess Latifa is an adult woman of sound mind and there is no legal basis for seizing and holding her against her will.

It is a violation of her "rights on any level", he said.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said that the UK, US and other governments in Europe, including Ireland, have good relations with the UAE and it would be appropriate for them to use their various channels to raise this serious issue.

Mr Kenney said the UAE is an ultra-authoritarian State and people are not allowed to speak out critically about the state or those who rule it.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum drew international attention in 2018 when a human rights group released a video made by her in which she described an attempt to escape Dubai.

The BBC's investigative news programme Panorama yesterday published a video it said was of Princess Latifa saying that she was being held against her will in a barricaded villa.

Last March, a London High Court judge said he accepted as proved a series of allegations made by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum's former wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, in a legal battle, including that the sheikh ordered the abduction of his daughter.

The sheikh's lawyers rejected the allegations.

"I am a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail," Princess Latifa said in the video published by the BBC as part of the Panorama programme.

"All the windows are barred shut, I can't open any window."

The Free Latifa campaign, which has lobbied for her release, said it had managed to smuggle a phone to Latifa.

David Haigh, one of the campaign's co-founders and her lawyer, called for Latifa's immediate release and an end to "a horrendous period of parental and human rights abuse that has significantly damaged the reputation of the UAE."

The Dubai government's media office referred questions about the video to Sheikh Mohammed's law firm, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Additional reporting: Reuters, PA