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Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the General Assembly delivers a message on the International Day for Tolerance
16 Nov 2020 -  On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, 16 November 1995, UNESCO's Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. Among other things, the Declaration affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. 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 provides that tolerance is not only a moral duty, but also a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups and States. It situates tolerance in relation to the international human rights instruments drawn up over the past fifty years and emphasizes that States should draft new legislation when necessary to ensure equality of treatment and of opportunity for all groups and individuals in society.
Along with outright injustice and violence, discrimination and marginalization are common forms of intolerance. Education for tolerance should aim at countering influences that lead to fear and exclusion of others, and should help young people develop capacities for independent judgement, critical thinking and ethical reasoning. The diversity of our world's many religions, languages, cultures and ethnicities is not a pretext for conflict, but is a treasure that enriches us all.

  Seventy-five years ago, at a time of distrust and fear, world leaders came together to create the United Nations. The penholders of the UN Charter recognised that we have more in common than that which divides us.
They knew, that when we seek peace we are stronger both as individuals and as an international community.
When we stand up against discrimination, hate speech, violence, and all forms of terror we are all safer.
When we uphold the equal rights and dignity of each person, we are all empowered to live a life of our choosing.
Today, xenophobia, racism and discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds are unfortunately on the rise.
It is high time to take effective measures against rising injustice, prejudice, discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech.
Each of us has an individual and collective responsibility to promote tolerance. We can resist and counter these threats, risks and challenges if we can all stand and work together.
To safeguard the freedom of the people we serve, to ensure equality within and between communities, we must legislate to protect human rights and invest in education which fosters tolerance and intercultural understanding.
To create a better world, we must support grassroots efforts for inclusion. On this International Day for Tolerance, let us not forget, that we are nations, united.
Thank you.