The UN General Assembly elected 44 members of the 47-seat Human Rights Council in its first round of historic voting Tuesday morning, which replaces the widely-criticized Commission on Human Rights.
The 191-nation assembly will hold a second round of voting Tuesday afternoon to fill the remaining three seats allocated for Eastern Europe.
Under a resolution it adopted on March 15, members of the Human Rights Council should be elected directly and secretly by the assembly and need the backing of a majority of the assembly's membership, or at least 96 votes.
The human rights commission has 57 seats and its members are nominated by region groups and approved by the 54-nation UN Economic and Social Council. The commission was abolished in March and is due to stop functioning in June.
Among the newly elected rights council members are China, India, Ghana, Zambia, Russia, Brazil, Cuba, Germany and France.
The March 15 resolution stipulates that the 47 council seats are allocated among the five regional groups on the principle of equitable geographical distribution, with Asia and Africa each getting 13 seats, Latin America and the Caribbean obtaining 8 seats, and Eastern Europe and the group of Western Europe and other developed nations gaining 6 and 7 seats respectively.