[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran [advocacy websites] on Monday called for [press release] the UN General Assembly [official website] to appoint a special envoy to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Iran since the controversial June presidential election [JURIST news archive]. Both groups urged UN member states to seize the upcoming visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] as an opportunity to discuss human rights abuses the groups have documented since the June 12 election. Deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW Joe Stork said:
UN member states, meeting as the General Assembly, have a responsibility to uphold UN human rights principles and demand that Iran stop these grave violations. ... The international community's voice, heard through the UN, can make a big difference in bringing an end to this crisis.
Some of these documented violations of human rights include unlawful use of lethal force against peaceful protesters, lengthy solitary confinement, coerced confessions, and reports of torture and rape of detained protesters.
Iran has been experiencing turmoil in Tehran and elsewhere since Ahmadinejad won the election in June. Earlier this month, a panel of Iranian judiciary members dismissed claims [JURIST report] made by pro-reform presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi [NYT profile] that detainees arrested following the election were sexually assaulted. Also this month, opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi [IranTracker profile] called for continued protests [JURIST report], maintaining his position that the election was fraudulent. In August, the death of an Iranian prisoner in police custody was determined to have been caused by beatings [JURIST report] and poor prison conditions in the wake of the post-election turmoil. In early July, HRW reported that some arrested protesters were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with torture in an effort to force false confessions [JURIST report]. Human rights groups have viewed the arrests as political repression [JURIST report], saying that Iranian forces are using the protests to "engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals."