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Dubai royal defends Mary Robinson visit

Mary Robinson with Sheikha Latifa, daughter of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

A member of the Dubai royal family has defended former President Mary Robinson's visit to the region to meet her family.

Princess Haya bint Hussein, the wife of the ruler of Dubai, said she asked Ms Robinson to visit her and Princess Sheikha Latifa to seek counsel as a family friend.

Princess Latifa is the daughter of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,

vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.

It is believed she tried to flee the UAE year and was allegedly captured off the coast of India.

She had previously released a YouTube video criticising her father and the restrictions she said she lived under.

Ms Robinson, who is a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was criticised by some human rights groups for comments she made after the visit when she described Princess Latifa as “a troubled young woman”.

Speaking on RTÉ's Marian Finucane Show, Princess Haya said the visit was a private family matter and that Ms Robinson was invited because she is someone "who will tell you the right thing and not what you need to hear".

She said Latifa is a "vulnerable" young woman and she finds it "simply absurd" that the family is being asked to prove she is alive.

On Ms Robinson's comments, Princess Haya said the former president "made no judgement”.

“I asked her here myself and details of that counsel are private,” she said.

Mrs Robinson has rejected criticism of her actions and said she has written a report of her visit to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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