Former United Nations rights chief Mary Robinson has been accused of parroting the official line from Dubai in the murky case of a "missing" princess. Robinson, who was president of Ireland for seven years, appeared in photos the United Arab Emirates recently released of Sheikha Latifa, daughter of Dubai's ruler. Robinson, who met with the princess at the family's request, described Latifa as a "troubled young woman" with a "serious medical condition" who was now being treated by a psychiatrist, CNN reports. Robinson said the 32-year-old Latifa—who was allegedly forcibly returned to her homeland earlier this year after commandos intercepted her boat—now regrets making a video in which she says she was abused and confined.
Radha Stirling of the rights group Detained in Dubai says the extent to which Robinson recited "almost verbatim from Dubai's script" is astonishing, the BBC reports. "She said nothing about Latifa having planned her escape for nearly a decade, nor anything about her previous escape attempt," she said. "She said nothing about the illegal raid of Latifa's boat in international waters, and the fact that she was screaming for asylum and begging to not be returned to the UAE. Mrs Robinson simply repeated again and again from the official Dubai statement that ... the whole issue is nothing more than a 'family matter.'" Other advocates wondered how Robinson had been able to determine during a brief meeting that Latifa was unwell and was receiving the appropriate treatment. (Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch urged Dubai's ruler to reveal his daughter's fate.)