China, Russia, other human rights abusers elected to U.N. Human Rights Council

China, Russia, Cuba, and Pakistan, all of whom have highly questionable track records on human rights, were appointed to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday afternoon.

Breaking down the votes, China received 72%, Cuba 88%, Russia 82%, and Pakistan 87.5%. Saudi Arabia’s bid, on the other hand, failed to gain enough support, only getting 46%.

Each year, several countries are elected to the governing board of the U.N. Human Rights Council for three-year terms.

The council’s mission is to promote and protect human rights around the globe as well as to address any rights violations and recommend actions for them. It has long been criticized for failing to properly address human rights abuses and for giving membership to undemocratic countries who routinely violate these rights.

China has been run by an authoritarian, one-party regime since 1949. Information and free speech are severely regulated there. In recent years, aside from violating the human rights of Hong Kongers and suppressing their democracy, China has imprisoned at least a million ethnic Uighur Muslims in what have been described as “concentration camps” and it has alleged that China has carried out forced sterilizations of Uighur women and the mass harvesting of their organs.

There was a hope after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 that Russia would become a prosperous liberal democracy like many Western nations. Vladimir Putin, however, has dragged the country’s back to shadows of authoritarianism since taking power on New Year’s Eve in 1999, getting rid of free speech and assembly among other abuses.

Cuba has been run by a communist dictatorship since 1959. This regime has consistently violated the human rights of its citizens, forcing many Cubans to flee to the United States over the decades.

Like many of these other countries, Pakistan suppresses freedom of speech. Another major issue is that Pakistan has failed to prevent violence against women and those who perpetrate it. Additionally, the country’s blasphemy laws heavily discriminate against religious minorities.

Beside these nations, the others who were elected to the Human Rights Council today include France, the United Kingdom, Bolivia, CΓ΄te d’Ivoire, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Senegal, Ukraine, Gabon, and Uzbekistan.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.