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13/11/2013 11:48 GMT | Updated 13/11/2013 11:50 GMT

Countries With Poor Human Rights Records Win Seats... On UN Human Rights Council

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China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Cuba and Algeria have won seats on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The questionable admissions have unsurprisingly raised some eyebrows with independent human rights groups, who said their election undermined the rights watchdog's credibility.

Regarding Russia's election one critic said it was "like electing a pyromaniac as chief of the fire department.”

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Human Rights Watch noted that five of the new council members — China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Algeria — have refused to let U.N. investigators visit to check alleged abuses.

China, Russia and Algeria have 10 or more unfulfilled requests for visits by U.N. experts, some dating back to 2000, the group said. Saudi Arabia and Vietnam each have seven outstanding requests, they said.

"Countries that haven't allowed U.N. experts appointed by the council to visit have a lot of explaining to do," Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director of the New York-based non-government group told the Associated Press. "It's like hiring someone, then not allowing them to enter the office."

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

The General Assembly elected 14 new members to the 47-seat Geneva-based council, which can shine a spotlight on rights abuses by adopting resolutions — when it chooses to do so. It also has dozens of special monitors watching problem countries and major issues ranging from executions to drone strikes.

Britain, France, the Maldives, Macedonia, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa were also elected to three-year terms.

Across the street from the main gate of U.N. headquarters, pro-Tibet activists hung a huge banner saying "China Fails Human Rights," Time Magazine reported.

Geneva-based UN Watch, a frequent critic of U.N. rights practices, denounced what it considered the worst new members.

"China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens, and they consistently vote the wrong way on U.N. initiatives to protect the human rights of others," said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

"For the U.N. to elect Saudi Arabia as a world judge on human rights would be like a town making a pyromaniac into chief of the fire department.

"Regrettably, so far neither the U.S. nor the EU have said a word about hypocritical candidacies that will undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the UN human rights system.

"By turning a blind eye as human rights violators easily join and subvert the council, leading democracies will be complicit in the world body's moral decline."