Costa Rica’s bid to block Venezuela from serving on the United Nations Human Rights Council came up just short.
During Thursday morning’s vote of the 193-member General Assembly, Brazil and Venezuela were elected to the region’s two vacant spots. Those countries will serve three-year terms on the Human Rights Council beginning Jan. 1, 2020.
Venezuela beat Costa Rica, the only other candidate, by just nine votes — 105 votes to 96. Brazil earned 153 votes.
Costa Rica announced its candidacy for the 47-member Human Rights Council earlier this month in an attempt to prevent the South American country from a virtually guaranteed nomination.
“When you are consistent with your principles, there is no possible defeat, only work ahead,” Costa Rica’s president, Carlos Alvarado, said after Thursday’s results.
“We thank the 96 countries that supported our effort made in a few days to raise our voices in the face of flagrant human rights violations in Venezuela.”
Costa Rican officials used the PreCOP25 climate action meetings to tout the country’s qualifications for the Human Rights Council.
But the efforts weren’t quite enough as the UN instead chose the government of Nicolás Maduro — which has committed a number of human rights violations, according to Human Rights Watch — as more deserving of a spot on the council.
“The option to remain passive was not possible for a country that has made human rights one of the fundamental pillars of its foreign policy and its coexistence as a nation,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement following Thursday’s vote.
“It is always the right time to raise your voice for human rights.”
This story was updated at 11:25 a.m. with a statement from President Alvarado and the Foreign Ministry.