United Nations Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia won seats on the new U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday despite their poor human rights records, but two rights abusers - Iran and Venezuela - were defeated.
Human rights groups said they were generally pleased with the 47 members elected to the council, which will replace the highly politicized Human Rights Commission. It was discredited in recent years because some countries with terrible rights records used their membership to protect one another from condemnation.
"The spoiler governments, the governments that have a history of trying to undermine the protection of human rights through their membership on the old commission are now a significantly reduced minority when it comes to the council," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "That doesn't guarantee that the council will be a success, but it is a step in the right direction."