International Day of Tolerance

On November 16, 1995 the member states of UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. What does this mean? The declaration defined tolerance as the acceptance of different views, respect for fellow and appreciation of the richness of the world’s diversity. Furthermore, tolerance also means unity amidst diversity. It was proclaimed that November 16 is the International Day for Tolerance.

All member states commit to uphold tolerance and non-violence by means of programmes that will breed public awareness. For the year 2013, there are many programmes and activities in store for Singapore. As an individual, how can you counter intolerance? UNESCO provided the following measures to counter intolerance:

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Countering intolerance necessitates law

It is the responsibility of the government to create, implement and punish discrimination, violence, hate crimes and many other crimes. The government should guarantee equal admission to courts regardless of the state in life.

Countering intolerance necessitates education

Laws will not suffice if the people are not aware or knowledgeable when it comes to tolerance. So, the best thing to do be educated and tackle the root of intolerance, which is ignorance. People should be educated to they can see the point.

Countering intolerance necessitates contact to information

To prevent a group of people from manipulating or influencing other people, the freedom of the press and press pluralism should be encouraged so that people will learn how to distinguish facts from opinions.

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Countering intolerance necessitates awareness

It always begins in the individual. Each should be aware of intolerance so they will not do it and encourage other people to do the same. Everyone should remember that intolerance breeds intolerance.

Countering intolerance necessitates domestic solutions

If you are confronted with the escalating intolerance, it will require you to take action. You can do this by forming and organizing a group that is non violent. You should not feel powerless. Your togetherness will promote solidarity.

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