On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, 16 November 1995, UNESCO's Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. This day now marks the International Day for Tolerance each year.
Intolerance within any society leads to discrimination and inequality and in extreme cases, conflict. Throughout the ages and across the regions of the world we have seen this all too often, with the eruption of sectarian violence, heinous cases of persecution against entire communities and races and sometimes even massacres.
Through its programmes, Muslim Aid promotes social cohesion during conflict; providing humanitarian assistance and tackling the root cause of the conflict. When sectarian tensions led to widespread violence in the Central African Republic in 2012, Muslim Aid was part of an inter-faith humanitarian intervention to promote tolerance and unity. Through its field office in Myanmar, Muslim Aid also promotes integration and social cohesion whilst undertaking its humanitarian work in response to the widespread sectarian violence and unrest which has plagued Myanmar for some years now.
The solution of course is to embrace tolerance; to learn and appreciate that we are all different and all have something to offer. People of different genders, ages, faiths, races and political affiliations all make valuable contributions to society, and greater attempts should be made individually and on an international level to promote unity. For our own generation, and for future generations, we must uphold the rights of all people and encourage others to do so, so that we may all live with peace, dignity and potentially save lives needlessly lost as a result of intolerance.