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U.S. ELECTED TO U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL FOR FIRST TIME

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UNITED NATIONS: The United States won election to the U.N. Human Rights Council for the first time on Tuesday, joining 17 other nations picked for the body, after the Obama administration ended a U.S. policy of boycotting it.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Washington still believed the body was flawed, but added: "We are looking forward to working from within with a broad cross-section of member states to strengthen and reform the Human Rights Council."
The United States was one of 18 countries elected or reelected to three-year terms on the 47-seat Geneva-based council in a vote by the U.N. General Assembly, joining 29 others who are in mid-term.
Some nations that have faced criticism for their own human rights records, including China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia, were among those elected on Tuesday.
The council meets three times a year to review global rights issues as well as holding special sessions on crises. It is halfway through scrutinizing the human rights situation in every U.N. member state under a new periodic review mechanism and can appoint experts to probe abuses in specific countries.
But critics say it is dominated by Muslim countries and their allies who focus on Israel's treatment of Palestinians and ignore abuses in influential developing states.
The Bush administration took that view and stayed out of the council, set up three years ago to replace a discredited predecessor.
Courtesy:
The Star Online
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