14 November 1997 - UN Press Release - GA/SM/13

 

TOLERANCE FOUNDATION FOR PEACE AND SECURITY, BEDROCK OF CIVIL

SOCIETY, SAYS

GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF TOLERANCE

 

Following is the text of the statement by General Assembly President

Hennadiy Udovenko (Ukraine) on the occasion of the International Day of

Tolerance, observed 16 November:

 

Today, for the first time, we mark the International Day of Tolerance. The

observance could not have been timelier. It came about as a result of a

decision by the General Assembly in December 1996, following a year-long

discussion and activities that took place during the United Nations Year

for Tolerance. It is also an indication of a broad-based understanding by

the international community that the hopes for the beginning of a new era

of tolerance following the end of the cold war have not yet become fully

realized.

 

Unfortunately, extremism, discrimination and blunt disrespect for human

dignity continue to be a widespread phenomenon in our lives. These evils

are cross-cultural. They do not recognize international borders and this is

precisely why the United Nations system as a whole should play a more

significant role in strengthening the overall international network to deal

effectively with the promotion of the concept and culture of tolerance.

 

More than 50 years ago, in the aftermath of a devastating world war, the

peoples of the United Nations reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human

rights, in dignity and worth of the human person and in the need, in the

words of the Charter, "to practise tolerance and live together in peace

with one another as good neighbours". Tolerance is the foundation of peace

and security and is the bedrock of civil society. But we should never

forget that responsibility for tolerance rests with all of us.

 

Let us, then, use the observance of the International Day of Tolerance to

reaffirm our faith in this noble idea and to invigorate our joint action in

cultivating the culture of tolerance. Together -- the United Nations

system, governments and civil society -- we should renew our commitment to

promote tolerance as an underlying principle of international relations and

a prerequisite for a peaceful and non-violent world. Let us make sure that

tolerance and peace become the dominant features of the next century.

 

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