GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. Human Rights Council comfortably passed a resolution on Friday that recognises access to a safe and healthy environment as a fundamental right despite criticism in the lead-up to the vote from Britain, the United States and other countries.

The resolution, proposed by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland, was passed with 43 votes in favour and 4 abstentions from Russia, India, China and Japan, prompting a rare burst of applause in the Geneva forum.

Britain, which was among the critics of the proposal in recent negotiations, voted in favour in a surprise move. The United States did not vote since it is not currently a member of the 47-member Council.

(Reporting by Emma Farge)

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