The Secretary-General's Message on the International Day of Tolerance
16 November 2016
The values of tolerance and mutual understanding – so firmly embedded in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – are facing profound tests around the world.
Refugees and migrants continue to face closed doors and clenched fists. Violent extremists continue to target people solely because of their faiths and traditions. Day by day, bigotry shows its face through racism, anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination.
Too many armed conflicts have sectarian dimensions; too many societal disputes break down along communal lines. And too many politicians use the cynical math that says you add votes by dividing people.
The United Nations promotes tolerance as a matter of its fundamental identity. When tolerance is upheld, we encourage the world to emulate those fine examples. When tolerance is threatened, we must speak out.
The United Nations has launched a new campaign to promote tolerance, respect and dignity across the world. We call it, simply, “Together”. It is meant as a specific response to the xenophobia faced by so many refugees and migrants, and aims to highlight the benefits of diversity and migration. But it is also part of our general efforts to promote mutual understanding and global harmony.
Let us not be provoked or play into the hands of those who thrive on hatred and instil fear in our societies. Today’s global challenges should compel us to reject the failed mindset of “us” versus “them”. Let us see the world and all its possibilities through the prism of “we the peoples”.