The United States, a vocal critic of human rights records of China and Cuba, lost its seat Thursday on the top U.N. rights body for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947.

The 53-member U.N. Human Rights Commission, which usually meets in Geneva, makes recommendations for the protection and promotion of human rights — either on its own initiative or at the request of the General Assembly or the Security Council.

Regional groups at the United Nations nominate candidates for the commission, and the Western Europe and Others Group proposed four candidates for three seats: the United States, France, Austria and Sweden.