US officially rejoins controversial UN Human Rights Council
(CNN) The United States is officially a member of the controversial United Nations Human Rights Council again, reversing former President Donald Trump's withdrawal three years ago.
The US was elected on Thursday in an uncontested ballot of member countries by the UN General Assembly.
President Joe Biden had said he would return the US to the Geneva-based rights organization.
Cameroon, Eritrea and the United Arab Emirates also joined the Human Rights Council on Thursday despite concerns over their own domestic records voiced by human rights organizations.
The US got 168 votes, a slight drop from what other countries received to get three-year terms.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement celebrating the American reentry to the council that the US' initial efforts on the council will focus on Afghanistan, Myanmar, China, Ethiopia, Syria and Yemen.
She said the US' goals will be to "stand with human rights defenders and speak out against violations and abuses of human rights."
"More broadly, we will promote respect for fundamental freedoms and women's rights, and oppose religious intolerance, racial and ethnic injustices, and violence and discrimination against members of minority groups, including LGBTQI+ persons and persons with disabilities," she continued, adding that the US "will press against the election of countries with egregious human rights records and encourage those committed to promoting and protecting human rights both in their own countries and abroad to seek membership."