Animal Rights

16 November is the International Day for Tolerance

Oggi è la Giornata mondiale della tolleranza, proclamata dalle Nazioni Unite per ricordare i principi ispiratori della Dichiarazione universale dei diritti dell’ uomo.

We’re not so familiar with the word “tolerance”. Instead, “intolerance” seems to dominate the most: intolerance towards migrants, opposite political parties, lgbt people, and animals.

south africa racism
Racism is the main hurdle to tolerance and discrimination © Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Brief history of the International Day for Tolerance

The International Day for Tolerance has been established by the United Nations in 1996 in order to remind the principles that inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The celebration aims to spread a value – tolerance – underlying universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The political value of tolerance

The United Nations encourages governments and heads of state, but also organisations and citizens, to promote human well-being, freedom and progress all over the world, as well as tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation between cultures, civilisations and peoples. Tolerance not only is a moral duty, but it also represents a political and legal element that member states should support through legislations guaranteeing equal opportunities to all.

Ban Ki-moon’s message

“We live in an era of rising and violent extremism, radicalism and widening conflicts that are characterized by a fundamental disregard for human life. I call on all people and governments to actively combat fear, hatred and extremism with dialogue, understanding and mutual respect. Let us advance against the forces of division and unite for our shared future,” former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said to mark the previous edition, held in 2016.

Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi was the first to advocate non-violence

The prize for tolerance and non-violence

In 1995, in occasion of the United Nations Year for Tolerance and the 125th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, UNESCO has established the Unesco-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-violence. The prize honours people, institutions and NGOs that contributed, with significant activities in artistic, cultural and scientific fields, to promoting tolerance and non-violence. The 2016 edition was awarded to the Tolerance Centre, Russia, “in recognition of its wide range of activities, which include research and educational programmes to promote dialogue between religions and worldviews with a particular focus on youth”.

For the 2018 edition, the United Nations has launched a new campaign to promote tolerance, respect and dignity across the world. Together is a global campaign that aims to reduce negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, and to strengthen the social contract between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants.

integration
Education plays a crucial role in the process of cultural integration, by bringing children from different nationalities together © Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images

Sowing tolerance

Tolerance is like a tree. You need to sow it in young minds, constantly water it in order for its foundations to take roots, and protect it from parasites like hatred and discrimination.

Translated by

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