The UN General Assembly's human-rights committee on Tuesday adopted a protocol giving people rights to housing, food, water and sanitation, and holding governments responsible for the lack of such essentials, dpa reported.
The human-rights committee, known as Third Committee, adopted the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights without a vote. Amnesty International praised the move.
"This path-breaking instrument will give those people who couldn't access justice in their own countries the chance to have their complaints assessed by UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights," Amnesty International said.
The London-based rights group said that people who suffer violations of their rights are often denied the ability and power to hold those responsible to account. The protocol upholds the rights to adequate housing, food, water and sanitation, health, education and decent work.
The human-rights committee will send the adopted optional protocol for a final vote by the 192-nation General Assembly on December 10, when that body celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The optional protocol is designed as a tool to implement a declaration on human rights, adopted 15 years ago in Vienna, which declares that "all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated."