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Britain, India under UN council scanner

world Updated: Sep 22, 2007 22:20 IST

Britain, India and Algeria will be among the first countries to face scrutiny by the UN Human Rights Council under new rules that have been agreed.

The council, which was created more than a year ago to act as a global human rights watchdog, will examine the records of 16 countries at its first meeting in 2008.

The other countries to be reviewed at the spring session are Brazil, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia, Bahrain, Indonesia, Philippines, Argentina, Ecuador, Netherlands, Finland, Poland and Czech Republic.

Japan, Pakistan and Israel will be scrutinised late in the year, while Myanmar, Sudan and Zimbabwe have until 2011 before they face a review.

Each year 48 countries will be subjected to the procedure, which requires governments to deliver a self-assessment of the human rights situation in their own country but also takes into account the views of independent experts and non-governmental groups. Iran and the United States will have to report in 2010.

The 47-member council, which was created in March 2006 to replace the widely discredited and highly politicised Human Rights Commission, has been criticised for spending more time condemning Israel than any other country.