Ghana yesterday joined the rest of the world to observe the International World Tolerance Day which serves as a reminder on the dangers of intolerance.
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency reminded Ghanaians of the need to
“It is therefore our individual and collective responsibilities to ensure that peace prevails in the country irrespective of our differences.
“This would build a healthy and strong Ghana for our children and posterity. We owe this obligation to God, ourselves, the continent and the world at large,” the NCCE stated.
According to the NCCE, the call for tolerance however does not suggest that “we tolerate or accept intolerant tendencies such as acts of violence, extremism, aggression, and exclusion.
“We cannot accept marginalization and discrimination directed against ethnic, religious, and other minority groups within our societies, intimidation of individuals exercising their freedom of opinion and expression, which is a threat to the consolidation of peace, democracy and development.
“We must at all cost combat intolerance tendencies within the confines of the law. This underpins the principles of tolerance which amongst others, affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference,” the NCCE said.
The NCCE noted that as one people with a shared and common destiny as Ghanaians, democracy will continue to flourish as we become tolerant of each other by applying ourselves to the laws of the land.
It said: “Tolerance is not only a moral duty but more importantly a political and legal requirement,”
“Every Ghanaian has the right to life, right to freedom of speech and expression, association, thought, conscience, belief, religion, culture, work and education.
“The laws of our land further ensure the protection of the minority, marginalized and excluded groups,” the NCCE stated.
The NCCE stressed that Ghanaians are all enjoined to translate these provisions into real action to avert the unpleasant occurrence of civil unrest or disruption to national, continental and global peace.
The NCCE seeks the renewed commitment of all Ghanaians towards tolerating each other at all levels of our engagements and interactions in our families, communities, schools, marketplaces, workplaces, lorry parks, on our roads, religious/cultural gatherings, and political events and processes, TV/radio discussions, law courts, parliamentary proceedings, cabinet meetings and other social gatherings.
“Tolerance at these levels is a sure way for peace to flood our homes, communities, regions and naturally extend to the national and international levels.
“The NCCE seeks that as a people, the peace and tolerance woven into the national fabric should continue to be nurtured by each and every Ghanaian both within and outside the jurisdiction,” the statement said.
The NCCE reaffirms its constitutional mandate to educate all citizens on their rights and obligations to embrace tolerance.
The NCCE also used the occasion to remind institutions such as the government, family, religious bodies, political parties, civil society organizations and the media are reminded of their role in the educational process to consolidate the steady growth of our democracy.
This year marks the 50 anniversary of “International World Tolerance Day” which was introduced by the United Nations (UN) in 1995.
The observance backs the demand for the adherence to principles of tolerance by people, groups and nations around the world, the UN has sanctioned its member states through International Declarations and Conventions to enact domestic legislation that ensure tolerance compliance.
Some of the declarations and conventions include; 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance based on Religion or Beliefs and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights among others.
The key to peace in our families, communities, nations, continents and the world at large is through the exercise of tolerance.
A tolerant character exhibits a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions, beliefs and practices that differ from one’s own.
The sensitization of people around the world on religious, political and socio-cultural tolerance in order to avert religious conflicts, electoral violence and civil wars among others cannot be overemphasized.