November 16: International Day for Tolerance

The International Day of Tolerance is observed every year on November 16.

Key Points

  • This day was declared by United Nations with the aim of creating public awareness on dangers of intolerance.
  • The idea to observe this day propelled from the increasing need of ensuring people are aware of negativity that originate from intolerance.
  • Thus, UN General Assembly started observing this day in order to promote tolerance as the staple of society.

Year of Tolerance

United Nations had declared a Year for Tolerance in 1995. The Declaration of Principles on Tolerance was formulated in 1995 itself by UNESCO on November 16. The UN decided to pay tribute to 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 1995, by kickstarting the commemoration of International Tolerance Day in the year 1995. The annual observance of international day for Tolerance marks the anniversary of UNESCO’s declaration, as well.

Award to honour

As a part of this annual observance, UNESCO introduced an award to honour individuals who contributed towards promotion of the spirit of tolerance or non-violence by their behaviour, and work across the fields like arts, science, and culture. The award is called as “UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize”.

Significance of the day

The International Day of Tolerance encourages listening and open-mindedness, in a bid to drive the fact that tolerance is a universal human right. Its significance also lies in the fact that, tolerance is not only a moral obligation but an essential need of the hour.

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