The United Nations observes “International Day for Tolerance” on 16th November every year. The United Nations is committed to strengthening tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples.
History of International Day for Tolerance:
In 1994, UNESCO marked the 125th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth paving the way for the proclamation of 16 November as the International Day for Tolerance by the UN. This day pays tribute to the values of the Mahatma of peace, non-violence and equality. The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence rewards significant activities in the scientific, artistic, cultural or communication fields aimed at the promotion of a spirit of tolerance and non-violence. The prize is awarded every two years on the International Day for Tolerance, 16 November.
How Can Intolerance Be Countered?
- Laws: Governments are responsible for enforcing human rights laws, for banning and punishing hate crimes and discrimination and for ensuring equal access to dispute settlement.
- Education: Laws are necessary but not sufficient for countering intolerance, greater emphasis needs to be placed on educating more and better.
- Access to information: The most efficient way to limit the influence of hatemongers is to promote press freedom and press pluralism, in order to allow the public to differentiate between facts and opinions.
- Individual awareness: Intolerance breeds intolerance. In order to fight intolerance individuals should become aware of the link between their behaviour and the vicious cycle of mistrust and violence in society.
- 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.