Following is a message from the Secretary-General on occasion of the International Day of Tolerance:
We live in an era of rising and violent extremism, radicalism and widening conflicts that are characterized by a fundamental disregard for human life. There are more people displaced by fighting today than at any period since the end of the Second World War. Innocent lives are being lost in senseless clashes around the world. The youngest victims are robbed of their childhoods, conscripted and abused, or even kidnapped simply for wanting an education.
Democratic and peaceful societies are not immune from prejudice and violence. There is growing hostility and discrimination towards people crossing borders in search of asylum or opportunities denied to them at home. Hate crimes and other forms of intolerance mar too many communities, often stoked by irresponsible leaders seeking political gain.
I have strongly urged world leaders to protect people from persecution and to encourage tolerance for all regardless of nationality, religion, language, race, sexuality or any other distinction that obscures our common humanity.
The International Day of Tolerance is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to work for the recognition and protection of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms that is so essential to lasting peace.
The United Nations is committed to strengthening tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples. This imperative lies at the core of the United Nations Charter as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Promoting tolerance is also a key objective of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures being observed through 2022. And the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is paving the path to greater cross-cultural understanding.
On this International Day of Tolerance, I call on all people and governments to actively combat fear, hatred and extremism with dialogue, understanding and mutual respect. Let us advance against the forces of division and unite for our shared future.