International Day for Tolerance

International Day for Tolerance

International Day for Tolerance is observed on November 16 with a pledge to promote tolerance in the societies and communities which is a tool to build stronger relations between people belonging to different communities and religious beliefs.

International Day of Tolerance aims to strengthen tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples. To educate people about the need for tolerance in society and to help them understand the negative effects of intolerance.

The theme for International Day for Tolerance 2021 is “Tolerance is respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human”.

History

Tolerance Day is a United Nations’ observance and is celebrated on November 16 every year since the year 1996. The UN General Assembly (by resolution 51/95) invited the UN Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November. The basic aim was to strengthen tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples to reduce conflicts around the globe. On this day, people around the world recognize the importance of tolerance for a safe & peaceful world.

In 1993, at the initiative of UNESCO, United Nations proclaimed 1995 as “The Year for Tolerance”. UNESCO’s 1995 Declaration of Principles on Tolerance was, “Tolerance is respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.” This declaration initiated the General Assembly of the United Nations for the proclamation of Tolerance Day.

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. A prize was created for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence. The prize is awarded every two years on the International Day for Tolerance, 16 November. The Prize may be awarded to institutions, organizations or persons, who have contributed in a particularly meritorious and effective manner to tolerance and non-violence.

One year later, in 1996, the UN General Assembly prescribed all The Member States to celebrate 16, November as International Day for Tolerance. The chosen date of November 16 also celebrates the adoption anniversary of the above Declaration.

The 2005 World Summit Outcome document (A/RES/60/1) furthered the commitment of Heads of State and Government to advance human welfare, freedom, and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue, and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations, and peoples.

This is also a day when people can have special training programs and talks at their workplace focusing on human rights and tolerance around the world.

How to Counter Intolerance:

Legislature: World leaders and governments carry the responsibility to enforce human rights laws, punish hate crimes and discrimination.

Education: Laws are necessary but not sufficient for countering intolerance, without proper education about the issues, there is no way to counter intolerance. We must do our best to educate ourselves and others.

Awareness: In order to fight intolerance people should become aware of the link between their own behavior and mistrust and violence in society.

Information: Freedom of the press is crucial in order to allow the public to differentiate between facts and opinions. In order to fight intolerance individuals should become aware of the link between their behavior and the vicious cycle of mistrust and violence in society.

Local solutions: If confronted with an escalation of intolerance around us, we must not wait for the leaders to step in. We are all part of the solution.

We can work hard to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning experience where diversity can flourish and everyone is included and respected. There is always something new to learn from each other and different perspectives to enrich our lives.

Let’s make this world a better place, speak out when you see intolerance around you, write to your local government representative, start a movement at work, do something!

Suggested Read: Important Days In November

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.