“Tolerance is the respect, and appreciation of the wide diversity of the world, the form of expression and the ways of being a human.” (International Day of Tolerance)
On the day of its 50th anniversary, 16 November 1995, UNESCO’s Member adopted a Declaration of Principle of Tolerance. The Declaration assures that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is the respect and appreciation of the rich variety of the world’s cultures, the forms of expression and ways of being a human. Tolerance recognizes the universal rights of human and fundamental freedom of the others. Only tolerance can ensure the survival of the mixed communities in each region of the globe.
The Declaration defines tolerance not only as the moral duty but also as the political and the legal requirement for individuals, groups and the States. It states tolerance in relation to the international rights of human-drawn up over the past 50 years. It emphasizes that the States should draft new legislation whenever necessary to ensure equality of treatment and opportunity for every group and for every individual in the society.
Along with injustice and violence, discrimination is the common form of intolerance. Education for tolerance aim at countering influences that may lead to fear and exclusion of others. It also helps young people to develop capacities for independent judgment, thinking in critical matters and reasoning. The diversity of the world’s religions, languages, cultures, and ethnicities are not for conflict, but a treasure that enriches all human beings.
WHAT DO PEOPLE DO? (International Day of Tolerance)
Live discussions and debates take place all over the world on this day. The main focus is on how various injustice, racism, and discrimination have a negative impact on the society.
Many educators help students understand the issues of tolerance, human rights, and non-violence. These issues can also be found in textbooks, lesson matter and other educational resources used for the event. The UN Chronicle Online Education also provide articles on tolerance.
Information on the day is distributed through flyers, posters, news articles and television broadcasts, and some other promotional material to raise awareness about the importance of tolerance. Other activities of this day include essays and story-telling of people’s personal experience of intolerance and how it affects the lives.
Human rights activists use this day as an opportunity to speak on human rights laws. The main focus is on banning and punishing crimes and discrimination against minorities.
HOW CAN INTOLERANCE BE COUNTERED?
Fighting intolerance requires law:
Government is responsible for enforcing the human rights laws, for banning and punishing crimes and discrimination against minorities, no matter they are committed by State officials, private organizations or an individual. The State should also ensure equal access to the courts and human rights commissioners. This should be done so that people do not take justice into own hands and turn towards violence to settle their disputes.
Fighting intolerance requires education:
Laws are necessary but not enough for countering intolerance in an individual. Intolerance is often found in ignorance and fear. Intolerance is closely linked to an exaggerated sense of self-respect and pride, whether it is personal or religious. These rules are taught and learned at an early age. Therefore, greater emphasis is required to be placed on educating more and more.
Greater efforts are needed to teach children about tolerance and rights of a human. Children should be encouraged to be open-minded and curious. Practices to build tolerance through education will not be a success unless they reach all the age groups.
Fighting intolerance requires access to information:
Intolerance is the most dangerous when it is exploited for political and territorial ambitions of an individual. These people then develop fallacious arguments, lie with the statistics and manipulate public opinion with wrong information and prejudice. The most effective way to limit the influence of these people is to develop policies that generate and promote freedom and pluralism. It should allow the public to differentiate between the facts and opinions.
Fighting intolerance requires individual awareness:
Intolerance in society is the sum of the total intolerance of an individual. Insults and racial jokes are some ways of an individual expression of intolerance to which some people face daily. Intolerance gives rise to intolerance. It leaves the victims in pursuit of revenge. In order to fight intolerance, one should become aware of the link between the behavior and the violence in society.
- Fighting intolerance requires local solutions:
Many people know that the future problems will be global but only a few realize that solutions to global problems are local and individual. When confronted with intolerance one must not wait for the governments and institutions to act alone. We all are part of the solution. We should not feel powerless for humans actually possess an enormous capacity to wield the power.
Nonviolent action is a way of using the power of people. The tools of nonviolent action include:-
- Putting a group together for a problem
- To organize a grassroots network,
- Demonstrate relations with victims of intolerance,
- To discredit hateful propaganda.