|The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization |
UNESCO is known as the "intellectual" agency of the United Nations. At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism. UNESCO exists to bring this creative intelligence to life; for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. - See more at: http://en.unesco.org/about-us/introducing-unesco#sthash.pIZP5W00.dpuf
- UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance
- Integrated Strategy to Combat Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance
- Intercultural Dialogue
- Interreligious Dialogue
- Routes of Dialogue
"Tolerance recognizes 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."
The Declaration of Principles on Tolerance "qualifies tolerance not only as a moral duty, but also as a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups and States."
- Fighting intolerance requires law:
Each Government is responsible for enforcing human rights laws, for banning and punishing hate crimes and discrimination against minorities, whether these are committed by State officials, private organizations or individuals. The State must also ensure equal access to courts, human rights commissioners or ombudsmen, so that people do not take justice into their own hands and resort to violence to settle their disputes.
- Fighting intolerance requires education:
Laws are necessary but not sufficient for countering intolerance in individual attitudes. Intolerance is very often rooted in ignorance and fear: fear of the unknown, of the other, other cultures, nations, religions. Intolerance is also closely linked to an exaggerated sense of self-worth and pride, whether personal, national or religious. These notions are taught and learned at an early age. Therefore, greater emphasis needs to be placed on educating more and better. Greater efforts need to be made to teach children about tolerance and human rights, about other ways of life. Children should be encouraged at home and in school to be open-minded and curious.
Education is a life-long experience and does not begin or end in school. Endeavours to build tolerance through education will not succeed unless they reach all age groups, and take place everywhere: at home, in schools, in the workplace, in law-enforcement and legal training, and not least in entertainment and on the information highways.
- Fighting intolerance requires access to information:
Intolerance is most dangerous when it is exploited to fulfil the political and territorial ambitions of an individual or groups of individuals. Hatemongers often begin by identifying the public's tolerance threshold. They then develop fallacious arguments, lie with statistics and manipulate public opinion with misinformation and prejudice. The most efficient way to limit the influence of hatemongers is to develop policies that generate and promote press freedom and press pluralism, in order to allow the public to differentiate between facts and opinions.
- Fighting intolerance requires individual awareness:
Intolerance in a society is the sum-total of the intolerance of its individual members. Bigotry, stereotyping, stigmatizing, insults and racial jokes are examples of individual expressions of intolerance to which some people are subjected daily. Intolerance breeds intolerance. It leaves its victims in pursuit of revenge. 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. Each one of us should begin by asking: am I a tolerant person? Do I stereotype people? Do I reject those who are different from me? Do I blame my problems on 'them'?
- Fighting intolerance requires local solutions:
Many people know that tomorrow's problems will be increasingly global but few realize that solutions to global problems are mainly local, even individual. 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. We should not feel powerless for we actually posses an enormous capacity to wield power. Nonviolent action is a way of using that power-the power of people. The tools of nonviolent action-putting a group together to confront a problem, to organize a grassroots network, to demonstrate solidarity with victims of intolerance, to discredit hateful propaganda-are available to all those who want to put an end to intolerance, violence and hatred.
United Nation's Ban Ki-moon's most recent message on the importance of tolerance:
We are living through a period of global transition. New centres of power and economic dynamism are emerging. Technology is connecting us ever more closely, and cross-cultural exchanges are deepening every day – but this does not mean there is more understanding. Societies are more diverse but intolerance is on the rise in too many places.
Across the globe, nations and communities face profound and enduring economic, social and environmental challenges. Poverty, hunger and disease remain at unacceptable levels. Every region is experiencing the rising impact of climate change. Natural disasters are a constant reminder of human vulnerability. Conflicts and inter-community tensions persist across the globe. Millions face the daily threat of violence and displacement.
There are no individual solutions to these multifaceted and inter-related challenges. We can only advance as a community of nations and cultures, drawing on human solidarity and recognizing that we share a common destiny. This is why tolerance is so important.
Tolerance is not passive. It demands an active choice to reach out on the basis of mutual understanding and respect, especially where disagreement exists. Tolerance means recognizing that our diversity is a strength – a wellspring of creativity and renewal for all societies.
Tolerance can, and must, be learned. We need to teach girls and boys not just how to live together but how to act together as global citizens. We need to nurture tolerance by promoting cultural understanding and respect – from parliaments to the playground. We need to tackle growing inequality and reject social exclusion based on gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, and ethnic or religious background.
Tolerance is the strongest foundation for peace and reconciliation. At this time of rapid and often bewildering change, it has never been so important. On this International Day, I call on national and community leaders – and all those who wield influence through traditional and social media and among their peers – to embrace tolerance as the bond that will unite us on our common journey to a peaceful, sustainable future.