CubaBrief: Number of countries not voting for Cuba’s membership on the UN Human Rights Council more than doubled from 2020, but not enough to defeat the Cuban dictatorship’s candidacy.

Cuba, a dictatorship now holding over 1,000 political prisoners after 64 years in power, yesterday morning was elected by the UN General Assembly in New York to another term on the United Nations Human Rights Council that will extend its existing tenure until 2026.

Havana, Beijing and Moscow aggressively lobbied for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, but despite the efforts of non-governmental organizations around the world, and numerous activists, only Russia was rejected.

In the Latin American and Caribbean bloc, the dictatorship in Cuba, the democracies in Brazil, and the Dominican Republic were elected to the UN Human Rights Council while the democratic government of Peru received the lowest number of votes and failed to gain a seat on the Council. There is something deeply wrong that Cuba got the most votes in this bloc, despite its horrible human rights record. However, this was not limited to this bloc.

China, despite an ongoing genocide of the Uyghurs, the occupation of Tibet, and systematic human rights violations, received a higher vote for the Human Rights Council than Cuba.

“Naming Raul Castro and his puppet Miguel Diaz-Canel to sit on the world’s human rights body is like placing Jack the Ripper on the committee to end knife violence in London,” tweeted John Suarez, executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba immediately after the vote totals were announced.

Raul Castro and Miguel Diaz-Canel

Like Jack the Ripper, the Castro regime murders innocents, as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concluded on June 9, 2023 in their report on the merits regarding the killings of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero on July 22, 2012 by Cuban government agents, and with its membership on the UN Human Rights Council “consistently obstructs the body’s human rights mechanisms when it seeks answers.”

This is why we opposed their candidacy, circulated a letter highlighting the regime’s dismal human rights record and will continue to campaign for their expulsion from the Council.

This effort did make an impact. In 2020, Cuba received 170 votes out of 192 possible. Only 22 countries voted against the Cuban dictatorship.. Today, Cuba got 146 votes out of 192 possible. 46 countries did not vote for Havana. More than double from last time, but it is still a travesty, and a stain on the United Nations that Cuba obtained 76% of the vote.

Over 2,400 human rights advocates, religious leaders, writers, artists, intellectuals, journalists, businessmen, former diplomats and academicians appealed to members of the UN General Assembly to expel Cuba from the UN Human Rights Council.

Among the signatories are Regis Iglesias Ramirez, spokesman of the Christian Liberation Movement, a prisoner of conscience who spent seven years in a Cuban prison; Paquito D’Rivera, Grammy-winning musician and composer; Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, UN Watch;  Dr. Jianli 建利 Yang 杨, President, Citizen Power Initiatives for China; Mary Curtis Horowitz, Chair, Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy; Guillermo Marmol, businessman and Chairman, Center for a Free Cuba; Dmytro Potekhin, Ukrainian civic activist and blogger; and Ambassador Everett Briggs, former U.S. ambassador to Portugal and Panama.

Now more than ever it is important to call on the UN General Assembly to expel Cuba from the UN Human Rights Council. The petition to expel Cuba from the Council today has 2405 signers. The number of signatories in protest, and call on those outraged by the vote to sign the petition, and share it with others.

Miami Herald, October 10, 2023

Despite jailing critics and dissidents, Cuba keeps seat on U.N. Human Rights Council 

By Nora Gámez Torres 

Updated October 10, 2023 2:07 PM

Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez delivers a speech at the General Debate of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, on Sept. 19, 2023. Xinhua Xinhua/Sipa USA

Cuba was reelected Tuesday to the United Nations Human Rights Council despite criticism from several advocacy groups and activists about the island government’s imprisonment of over a thousand peaceful protesters and dissenters. 

Notably, Russia, which was kicked out of the council last year after its invasion of Ukraine, could not win its seat back. 

Cuba received 146 votes, and Russia only 83. The council members are elected by the 193 U.N nations with a simple majority of 97 votes for a three-year term. Candidates are selected by region. 

The Cuban government quickly celebrated the diplomatic victory on social media. 

“The reelection of Cuba to the Human Rights Council is a recognition by the international community of the humanist work of the Revolution,” Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez said on X. “We will continue on our path towards building a more just society for all.”

United Nations, October 10, 2023

UN General Assembly elects 15 new members to Human Rights Council

UN Photo/Loey Felipe A delegate casts their country’s vote during the Human Rights Council elections.

10 October 2023 Human Rights

The UN General Assembly on Tuesday elected 15 new countries to serve on the Human Rights Council, with Peru and Russia failing to secure a seat.

After the ballots were cast and counted, Assembly President Dennis Francis announced Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malawi, and the Netherlands were elected to serve for three years, beginning 1 January 2024.

China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, France, and Malawi were re-elected for their second terms. 

The Human Rights Council, the UN’s premier rights body, is tasked with the responsibility to uphold and advance fundamental freedoms globally. It was created in 2006 and consists of 47 member States, elected via secret ballot by the majority of General Assembly members.

In order to ensure equitable geographical distribution, its seats are distributed among regional groups of States as follows, from Africa (13); Asia-Pacific (13); Eastern European (6); Latin American and Caribbean (8); and Western European and others (7).


Malawi topped the voting for African nations, with 182 votes, followed by Côte d’Ivoire (181), Ghana (179), Burundi (168), and Nigeria (3). In Asia and the Pacific, Indonesia secured 186 votes, followed by Kuwait (183), Japan (175), and China (154).

In Eastern Europe, Bulgaria received 160 votes, followed by Albania (123), and Russia (83). Russia was seeking re-election to the Human Rights Council after it resigned from the body on 7 April 2022.

Latin America and the Caribbean saw Cuba secure 146 votes, followed by Brazil (144), Dominican Republic (137) and Peru (108). This is the first time Dominican Republic is elected to the Human Rights Council.

In Western Europe and others, the Netherlands received 169 votes, and France 153.

The new members will join Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Cameroon, Chile, Costa Rica, Eritrea, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Montenegro, Morocco, Paraguay, Qatar, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, and Viet Nam on 1 January 2024.