November 16 is an international day for tolerance. The United Nations (UN) days for tolerance is to foster mutual understanding among cultures and peoples.
Every nation has the responsibility to educate its citizens to display behaviors of tolerance towards others. It is the responsibility of the government to protect citizens who are victims of violence. A national habit of tolerance allows people of different religions and cultures to live peacefully in a society.
On the day of its fiftieth anniversary on November 16, 1995, UNESCO's Member States approved a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance.
Among other things, the Declaration confirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is esteem and admiration of the wide variety of our world's cultures, our forms of expression, and ways of being human.
Tolerance acknowledges the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.
What are the requirements to counter intolerance?
Fighting intolerance requires law. Governments are responsible for enforcing human rights laws, banning and punishing hate crimes and discrimination and ensuring equal access to dispute settlement.
Fighting intolerance requires education. Laws are necessary but not sufficient for countering intolerance, and greater emphasis needs to be placed on educating more and better.
Fighting intolerance requires access to information. The most efficient way to limit the influence of hatemongers is to promote press freedom and press pluralism to allow the public to differentiate between facts and opinions.
Fighting intolerance requires individual awareness. Intolerance breeds intolerance. To fight intolerance, individuals should become aware of the link between their behavior and the vicious cycle of mistrust and violence in society.
Fighting intolerance requires local solutions. When confronted with an escalation of intolerance around us, we must not wait for governments and institutions to act alone. We are all part of the solution.