November 16.

International Day for Tolerance.

The Declaration of Principles on Tolerance declares that all people are different in nature, but equal in their dignity and rights. According to the document, tolerance means respect, acceptance and correct understanding of the rich diversity of the world’s cultures, forms of self-expression and ways of manifesting human individuality. At the state level, tolerance requires fair and impartial legislation, respect for the rule of law, and due process and administration. Tolerance also requires providing everyone with opportunities for economic and social development without discrimination.

The most effective means of preventing intolerance is, according to the declaration, education, which begins with teaching people what their general rights and freedoms are, in order to ensure the exercise of these rights, and encouraging the desire to protect the rights of others.

The United Nations is committed to fostering tolerance by deepening understanding between cultures and peoples. This imperative is at the heart of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is even more relevant in the current era of intensifying and violent extremism, the spread of radicalism and the expansion of conflicts, one of the hallmarks of which is a complete disregard for human life.

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the incidence of intolerance, extremism and violence around the world. This alarming trend is fueled in part by a growing tendency to define differences in terms of identity, rather than in terms of opinions or interests.

As a result, individuals and entire communities become targets of violence and cruelty only because of their ethnic, religious, national or other identity. Such threats, whether it be widespread genocide or daily humiliation due to prejudice, should be of concern to everyone.

Each of us must strive to uphold the principles of tolerance, pluralism, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. We must always be ready to eliminate stereotypes and misconceptions and to advocate for victims of discrimination.

It is important to remember that diversity, embodied in thoughts, beliefs and actions, is a valuable gift, not a threat. We must strive to build more tolerant communities in which this fundamental ideal will take root.