Thanks to a membership that has included some of the world’s most brutal regimes, the UN Human Rights Council has too often been better at promoting cynicism than at protecting human rights. But there have recently been modest signs of change. Last year, the council unanimously suspended Libya’s membership in response to Moammar Khadafy’s violent crackdown. Syria withdrew its bid for a seat on the council under pressure from human-rights advocates. And with the forthcoming departure of Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Russia on Dec. 31, three more repressive governments will no longer have a vote.
Unfortunately, other authoritarian regimes are taking their place.