Preamble section 8:
NOW, THEREFORE, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Concepts and Ideas

The Proclamation declares human rights education and teaching and the adoption of "progressive measures," both national and international, as the overarching purposes of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. By employing the Declaration as an educational tool for informing people about their inherent rights, you thereby establish a "common standard of achievement" by which individuals and officials are able to measure their own national laws, practices, traditions and customs. The educational purpose of the Universal Declaration is something that it holds in common with the French Declaration of 1789. In fact, the words "keeping the Declaration constantly in mind" are taken directly from the French submission. In contrast to the French Declaration, however, the Universal Declaration is addressed to the entire human race, consisting of individuals in the first instance and only secondarily to nations and large groups of peoples.

Even though the Declaration is not a binding convention imposing legal obligations on its signatories, it nevertheless refers to the need for "universal and effective recognition and observance." Human rights violations occur within states, rather than on the high seas or in outer space beyond the jurisdiction of any one state. Ultimately, effective protection must come from the state itself. The international human rights system does not seek to place delinquent states in political bankruptcy and through some form of receivership take over the administration of a country in order to assure the enjoyment of human rights (although note the measures taken by the international community in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the 1995 Dayton Peace agreement and more recently in Kosovo). Rather the international system seeks to persuade or pressure states to fulfil their obligations through one or another method--either observing national law (constitutional or statutory) that is consistent with international norms, or making the international norms themselves part of the national legal and political order. (Steiner and Alston, 988)

Peter Danchin, Columbia University