Preamble section 7:
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,


The seventh recital of the Preamble forms a bridge between the other six recitals and the operative paragraph that follows. In order for the purposes of the Universal Declaration to be effective, the peoples of the world must have a "common understanding" of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration. But that common understanding will not materialize unless the Declaration is used worldwide at all levels and in all sectors of society.

Professor Louis Henkin
How "universal" is the Universal Declaration and to what extent did the drafters look around the world at different systems and cultures in creating the Declaration?
Keywords: Declaration of 1798
The discussion that follows considers two general issues. First, the inclusiveness of the drafting process of the Declaration. Was each country involved and given a voice? Did the rights in the Declaration emerge from a genuine consensus among all nations and cultures? Second, the old debate between universal values and cultural relativism. A common understanding of the rights and freedoms in the Universal Declaration is challenged by several scholars and world leaders. How truly "universal" is the Universal Declaration and how persuasive are the arguments of cultural relativists who challenge the Declaration's claim to universality?

See generally Morsink, section 8.5.

Peter Danchin, Columbia University