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Saudi sisters’ asylum bid must not be overshadowed by escape of Princess Haya

Dua and Dalal (left). The two Saudi girls' lives are in danger, and they don't have Princess Haya's millions to help them. Only Radha Stirling (right) CEO of Detained In Dubai to fight their corner and find them a safe country to give asylum

Repression of women in the Gulf is widespread, and cases like Princess Haya are the tip of the iceberg. Saudi sisters Dua and Dalal Khalid in urgent need of asylum while media attention focuses on the escape of Haya.

As global attention has turned to the apparent asylum bid of Princess Haya bint Hussein and her escape from the UAE, reportedly with millions of dollars in tow; Saudi sisters Dua and Dalal Khalid are literally hiding out in Turkey in constant fear for their lives, trying desperately to be granted refugee status or asylum in a third country before their family members find them.

While the Princess Haya story piques the media’s interest, particularly in the aftermath of the earlier escape by Sheikha Latifa; both of whom were fleeing Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai; not all women escaping abusive families in the Gulf are royalty.

“Cases like Latifa and Haya really represent the tip of the iceberg,” Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai says, “The proper way to understand it is that domestic abuse and repression of women in the Gulf is such a widespread social problem that it is even occurring at the highest levels of society. Even the wives and daughters of the region’s rulers are not safe; so the situation for average women is even worse. Dua and Dalal have detailed an experience of unending abuse, subjugation, discrimination, and domestic tyranny from childhood until today. Even after their escape in Turkey, they are still being pursued, and in danger of deportation back to the same horrific conditions which have traumatised them all their lives.