NEW YORK — Human rights groups urged the United Nations on Monday to appoint a special envoy to investigate continuing abuses in Iran following the disputed presidential elections there.
"The United Nations should use President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the U.N. General Assembly (this week) to address Iran's worsening human rights crisis," Human Rights Watch and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said in a joint statement.
The two organizations said that at least 72 people have died in the crackdown that followed opposition protests against the June 12 ballot, in which Ahmadinejad easily won re-election.
More than 4,000 people were detained and about 400 still remain in jail, the statement said.
Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch told a news conference Tuesday that although other governments in the Middle East regularly violate rights conventions, only Iran's case will be taken up at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly.
The assembly is due to discuss a Canadian-drafted resolution from the Human Rights Council on the situation in Iran.
"We are using the opportunity where people are very concerned about what is going on Iran," Crawshaw said.