On 17 January 2019, the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions sent an Urgent Appeal (ARE 1/2019) to the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) highlighting concerns for the arrest and potential deportation of Pakistani national Rashid Hussain Brohi. Brohi was detained without an arrest warrant by Emirati security forces on 26 December 2018 and has since been forcibly disappeared by Emirati authorities. Since his arrest, the authorities have refrained from providing any details on Brohi’s location or the reasons behind his arrest.

Rashid Hussain Brohi originally fled from Pakistan after several family members were believed to be targeted and killed by the Pakistani security forces, while security forces reportedly demolished the homes of some of Brohi’s family members. He further received threats to his life from Pakistani security forces, causing him to flee to the UAE.

Special Forces officers originally stopped Brohi while on the road to Sharjah on 26 December 2018 and detained him. He was last seen handcuffed at his home in the custody of 15 gunmen and plain clothes officers, and Brohi’s associates were later allegedly contacted by officials requesting his passport on 11 January and 16 January 2019. While his current whereabouts remain unknown, authorities initially threatened to deport Brohi back to Pakistan on 17 January 2019. Given his circumstances for fleeing Pakistan initially, concerns remain that Brohi’s life will be at serious risk if deported to Pakistan from the  UAE. The Urgent Appeal raised further concerns surrounding allegations of the nature of Brohi’s arrest, as local police and institutions have not provided further information on his case and Dubai INTERPOL has confirmed there was no arrest warrant for Brohi.

UN Special Procedures sent a previous communication to the Emirati government raising concerns around Brohi’s case on 3 January 2019, to which the Emirati government has failed to respond. Similarly, a response to ARE 1/2019 has not yet been received by the mandates despite having expressed alarm at Brohi’s risk for deportation and requesting clarification on the allegations. The UAE maintains obligations to uphold various international human right treaties, including Article 10 (2) of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances: an individual deprived of liberty reserves the right to be detained in an “officially recognized place of detention” and be brought before a judicial authority in a timely manner, within the confines of national law; and Article 3 of the Universal Declaration Human Rights (UDHR): the right to life, liberty, and security of every person.

The mandates ultimately called attention to these international standards in the context of Brohi’s case, calling for clarification from the Emirati government as to his whereabouts and the current status of his case. Experts requested further information on measures being undertaken to ensure his just treatment, the legal grounds for his arrest, information on consideration for deportation and investigations into his risk of being extrajudicially killed should he be deported to Pakistan. Given the UAE’s previous neglect to respond to Special Procedures on this case, there is serious cause for concern that the UAE will continue to disregard UN communications pertaining to Brohi. Should the UAE repeatedly fail to address these allegations and the dangers surrounding Brohi’s deportation, Brohi remains at risk of deportation to Pakistan and his life in danger, further presenting serious questions surrounding the UAE’s commitments to its international human rights obligations.

Ethan Cook is an Advocacy Intern with ADHRB.