UNITED NATIONS, July 30 (UPI) -- Access to clean drinking water and sanitation is a basic human right, the U.N. General Assembly said in a symbolic resolution.
The U.N. General Assembly passed a measure with no opposition that puts clean drinking water and sanitation on the same footing as the right to live without racial discrimination.
The U.N. Environment Program estimates that more than 800 million people live without access to clean water. Another 2.5 billion lack access to clean sanitation facilities and more than 2 million people die each year because of illness linked to unsafe water.
"The lack of access to drinking water kills more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined," said Bolivian envoy to the United Nations Pablo Solon.
Of the 163 members of the United Nations, 122 voted in favor of the measure. German broke ranks with its industrialized partners by voting in favor of the resolution, the German news agency Deutsche Well reports.
"We consider access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, recognized in Article 11 of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights," said German representative to the United Nations Peter Wittig.
The news service said that the United States, Great Britain and Canada lobbied against the measure going to a vote.