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Countries with poor rights records win seats on UN Human Rights Council

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Countries with poor rights records win seats on UN Human Rights Council

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China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Cuba have all won seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Their admission to the UN’s top rights body has been criticised by some groups who contest the new members’ poor human rights records at home.

Fourteen positions on the 47-seat council were up for election – among others to be elected for three-year terms were Algeria, Britain, France, and Mexico.

One critic said of the election of Russia: “it was like electing a pyromaniac as chief of the fire department.”

Outside UN headquarters in New York there was a small protest against China’s policy on Tibet as the vote took place.

Western countries accused China last month of arresting activists, curbing internet use and suppressing ethnic minorities as its rights record was reviewed.