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China, Russia Elected To UN Rights Council

The UN building in New York (file photo)
China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Cuba won seats on the UN Human Rights Council despite protest by rights campaigners critical of their human rights records.

The UN General Assembly elected 14 countries to seats on the 47-member council on November 12 in New York.

Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch (HRW), said "human rights defenders will have their work cut out for them at the Human Rights Council next year" with the addition of the controversial countries.

Five of the new members -- China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Algeria -- have refused to let UN investigators check alleged abuses in their countries, HRW said.

France, Britain, South Africa, Morocco, Namibia, Macedonia, Mexico, and Maldives were also voted onto the council. The council convenes in Geneva on January 1.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP