16 November: International Day for Tolerance
In 1995, the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, UNESCO created a special prize, the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize that rewards significant activities of institutions, organizations or persons, in the scientific, artistic, cultural or communication fields for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. The prize is awarded every two years.
TOGETHER is a global UNO campaign to promote tolerance, respect and dignity, to reduce negative perceptions and attitudes, and to strengthen the social contract between host countries and communities, refugees and migrants.
This Day is an occasion for people to learn to respect and recognize the rights and beliefs of others; to reflect, discuss and debate on the negative effects of intolerance. Other activities include essays, dialogues and story-telling of people’s personal accounts of intolerance and how it affects their lives. Human rights activists also use this day as an opportunity to speak out on human rights laws, discrimination against minorities, all forms of racism, xenophobia, exclusion and hatred.
Globalization has sharpened inequality, poverty, enduring conflicts and movements of peoples. Diversity is seen as weakness. There is a rise of exclusive politics. Barbaric terrorist attacks are designed to weaken the fabric of ‘living together.’
Tolerance is more than indifference and the passive acceptance of others. It is an act of liberation, a struggle for peace, accepting the great diversity of humanity, reaching out to others across new bridges of understanding and dialogue.
Cultures differ from one another in many ways, and also share common elements. But humanity is a single community. There are seven billion ways of ‘being human’.
- to defend humanity’s cultural diversity and heritage from pillaging and attacks,
- to prevent violent extremism through education, freedom of expression and media literacy,
- to empower the young to strengthen dialogue between cultures and religions.
Tolerance is an act of humanity, which we must nurture and enact each in our own lives every day, rejoicing in the diversity that makes us strong and the values that bring us together.
19 November: World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
The Day draws attention to the emotional and economic devastation caused by road crashes. It also recognizes the work of support and emergency services.
Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent and traumatic events. Their impact is long-lasting, often permanent. Each year, millions of newly injured and bereaved people from every corner of the world are added to the countless millions who already suffer. Road crashes are the leading cause of death in people aged between 5 to 34 years. Every six seconds someone is killed or injured.
The grief and distress experienced by this huge number of people is all the greater because a significant number of the victims are so young. Many of the crashes could and should have been prevented. But the response of governments and society to road death and injury and to bereaved and injured victims is often inadequate, unsympathetic, and inappropriate to a loss of life or quality of life.
This special Remembrance Day is therefore intended to respond to the great need of road crash victims for public recognition of their loss and suffering. It offers the opportunity to demonstrate the enormous scale and impact of road deaths and injuries and the urgent need for action.
Many events can be held on this Day:
- Remembrance services and flower-laying ceremonies in memory of dead road victims;
- Reunions of affected families and friends;
- Media campaigns and coverage, video presentations on road traffic crashes;
- Awareness campaigns on the risk of speeding traffic .
Slowing down is a safe option.
We all want to arrive safely at our destination. By slowing down, we make our roads safer for our children, families and friends. Research shows that a 5% cut in average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of fatal road traffic crashes.
Road traffic slogans to live by:
Alert today – Alive tomorrow.
Slow down! Your family will be waiting for you.
Stop accidents before they stop you.
Speed thrills but kills!
Accidents do not happen, they are caused.
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