Ireland has won a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time.

It will hold the seat at the Geneva-based council for a three-year term.

Ireland secured 124 votes at the UN General Assembly in what was the first time it contested the election for a seat on the council.

The US was re-elected to the council.

The UN General Assembly also elected 16 other countries for terms beginning in January.

The council was created by the UN General Assembly in 2006 as the main human rights body of the UN.

It is made up of 47 elected member states and meets in three regular sessions throughout the year.

They can meet in special sessions at the request of 16 council members.

The council addresses both thematic and country-based human rights issues, and can make recommendations to states.

It conducts a Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, as Ireland underwent in 2011.