The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Venezuela’s election to the Human Rights Council “is an embarrassment to the United Nations and a tragedy for the people of Venezuela.”

Venezuela won a contested election for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday, Oct. 17, despite a campaign by over 50 organizations and many countries opposed to Nicolás Maduro’s government and its rights record.

Kelly Craft, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.,  said in a statement after Thursday’s vote, “That one of the world’s worst human-rights abusers would be granted a seat on a body that is supposed to defend human rights is utterly appalling.”

She said she’s “personally aggrieved that 105 countries voted in favor of this affront to human life and dignity,” and added, “It provides ironclad proof that the Human Rights Council is broken and reinforces why the United States withdrew.”

Meanwhile, former U.S. ambassador to U.N. Nikki Haley said, “The U.N. Human Rights Council is a total sham.” 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reacted to the news by saying the U.N. human rights body is a broken institution.

Venezuela, under dictator Nicolás Maduro, winning a seat on the UN Human Rights Council proves the Council is a broken institution. Repressive regimes don’t deserve to be on UN bodies overseeing human rights, they deserve to be tried for their crimes against innocent people,” he tweeted.

Human Rights Watch also called Venezuela’s “undeserved and narrow election” to the U.N. Human Rights Council “a slap in the face to the country’s countless victims who’ve been tortured and murdered by government forces.”

Philippe Bolopion is the rights group’s deputy director for global advocacy. On Thursday he said it’s also a slap to “the millions who have fled largely because of a humanitarian emergency the government unleashed.”

Venezuela and Brazil were the top vote getters for two Latin American seats on the council in the General Assembly vote, beating Costa Rica. Brazil topped the ballot with 153 votes followed by Venezuela with 105 votes and late entry Costa Rica with 96 votes.

Bolopion said the council should continue to scrutinize the Maduro government’s abuses “and hold those responsible to account.”

He said the General Assembly should recognize that electing “serial rights abusers like Venezuela” betrays its established principles for the Human Rights Council.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called the vote “a victory” that followed “a fierce and brutal campaign by the United States … and its subordinate nations.”

Following are other critics to the news:

Includes reporting from The Associated Press

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.