Video Message of the High Representative
on the occasion of
International Day of Tolerance
“Fostering Peace, Dialogue, and Tolerance through Empowering Youth”
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today we once again commemorate the International Day of Tolerance. But I dare to say that we need to move beyond tolerance to mutual respect, humility, compassion and common understanding. These are the real universal values that we need today to achieve peaceful and inclusive societies. One that sees diversity as richness rather than a threat.
All major world religions espouse tolerance and peaceful coexistence in a spirit of shared humanity. We must resist and reject those who falsely and maliciously invoke religion to build misconceptions, fuel division and spread fear and hatred. There is richness and strength in diversity; it is never a threat.
The International Day of Tolerance is a reminder of the UN the Charter of the founding fathers of the United Nations which refers to “We the Peoples” of the United Nations who are “determined to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as neighbors”. Those universal values are humanistic values inherent in all faiths. Hence we, at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations we derive our motto from these values “Many Cultures…One Humanity”. We work to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue as a viable tool to achieve this goal. We recognize that if we truly believe and work for fulfilling this motto, we would succeed in transitioning from tolerance as a noble human virtue to acceptance and respect of the other as a noble human act and from monologues to dialogues.
Recalling the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/73/296 that calls for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue on the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and for the diversity of religions and beliefs, emphasizing that States, regional organizations, national human rights institutions, non -governmental organizations, religious bodies, the media and civil society as a whole have an important role to play in such efforts.
We should all unequivocally condemn stand-up against all acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief targeting individuals belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world. We should also collectively deplore all acts of violence and terrorist attacks against places of worship that are motivated by religious hatred, including Islamophobia, anti -Semitism and Christianophobia.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) continues to collaborate with state and non-state actors and stakeholders including faith actors and relevant UN entities to implement strategies and plans launched by the United Nations Secretary-General such as the Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites as well as the Call to Action on Human Rights and the Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech.
In this spirit, let’s celebrate the International Day of Tolerance by demonstrating mutual respect, compassion and fraternity.