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Rights Groups Alarmed Over Russia, China Joining Top UN Rights Body

The UN Human Rights Council during a recent session in Geneva
Independent human rights groups are raising alarms over the prospect of accused rights abusers Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam joining the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The four states are running unopposed for seats on the council, the UN’s highest rights watchdog agency, based in Geneva.

The UN General Assembly was scheduled to elect 14 new members to the 47-seat council on November 12.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam have refused to allow independent UN rights monitors visit their countries to investigate alleged abuses.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of the UN Watch nongovernmental group, says Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia "systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens."

Based on reporting by AP and dpa