|All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.|
Bearing a clear resemblance to the French revolutionary slogan of liberté, equalité, fraternité, Article 1 provides that all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights and, as a result of common birth into the human family, should treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The first article has been referred to as the cornerstone of the Universal Declaration. During the drafting process, it occupied more debate and discussion time than any other article. The words free and equal in dignity and rights encapsulatewithout theoretical or philosophical explorationthe main foundational concepts of the Declaration and are closely linked to the themes and ideas found in the first recital of the Preamble. Accordingly, the discussion that follows below should be read in conjunction with the discussion and analysis of Preamble recital 1.
Lindholm, at 33-50.
Peter Danchin, Columbia University