The UN has been urged to step in after the daughter of Dubai's ruler sent secret video messages to friends accusing her father of holding her "hostage".

Princess Latifa, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, accused her father of holding her against her will following attempts to flee the emirate, in video messages to friends.

She tried to flee the country in 2018.

In footage shared with BBC Panorama, Princess Latifa Al Maktoum says commandos drugged her as she fled by boat and flew her back to detention.

Friends and supporters said she disappeared after commandos stormed a boat carrying her off the coast of India after she fled the emirate, and are urging the UN to intervene. 

The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and president of Ireland has joined calls for international action to establish Latifa's current condition and whereabouts.

Former UN human rights envoy Mary Robinson said she felt “horribly tricked” over an alleged royal hostage ordeal in the Middle East.

The former Irish president was criticised by human rights groups after she travelled to Dubai in 2018 to meet Sheikha Latifa, daughter of Sheikh Al-Maktoum.

Nine days after the lunch, the UAE’s foreign ministry published photographs of Ms Robinson with Latifa, which it said was proof the princess was safe and well.

The stateswoman told Panorama she had earlier been presented with details of Latifa’s bipolar disorder, a condition she does not have.

Dr Robinson told the programme she she did not ask Latifa about her situation because she did not want to “increase the trauma” of her “condition”.

She said she was aware a photo was being taken of the encounter, as proof that Latifa was alive, but was not aware it would be published.

She added: “I mean, that was a total surprise, I was absolutely stunned.”