The United States, Germany and Ireland were elected to serve three-year terms on the Human Rights Council by the General Assembly.
"We took the decision that we could improve the work of the Human Rights Council by working within it rather than staying on the outside, and today the international community reaffirmed that it agrees with that judgment," said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
Human Rights Watch, however, said only three of the 18 seats open on the council were competitive.
"To call the vote in the General Assembly an 'election' gives this process way too much credit," said Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. "Until there is real competition for seats in the Human Rights Council, its membership standards will remain more rhetoric than reality."
Hicks' organization expressed further frustration that countries like Pakistan and Ivory Coast were given seats on the U.N. council despite their less-than-exemplary records on human rights.