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    16 November 1999
    Struggle for Tolerance Is Struggle for Humanity Itself
    Says Secretary-General in Message on International Day

    NEW YORK, 15 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the International Day of Tolerance, observed on 16 November:

     On this last International Day of Tolerance of the Twentieth Century, I wish to pay tribute to all the men and women who have given their lives in the struggle for tolerance and human rights.  Though this has been the bloodiest of all centuries, it has also witnessed remarkable progress -- not least in the respect for the rights of groups and individuals hitherto discriminated against. Racism, sexism, and homophobia have been confronted and defeated in more places and in more ways than in any other time in human history.

     While this progress should give us hope and encouragement, it must not make us complacent.  The struggle for tolerance is the struggle for humanity itself.  For without tolerance in a world increasingly characterized by globalization and cooperation, the future itself is at risk.  As greater parts of humanity encounter different cultures and races, either through travel or immigration, it becomes incumbent upon all of us to seek out and embrace what unites us, and not what divides us.

     As we enter a new century, the United Nations will place tolerance at the centre of all our efforts for peace and progress.  Tolerance fosters dialogue where differences persist, understanding where suspicions prevail, and cooperation where divisions have impaired progress for too long.  Tolerance must become a priority not only for the United Nations and its Member States.  As individuals, we can advance the cause of tolerance in every day of our lives.  Let that be our goal for the next century.

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