KYIV, 16 November 2013 – Genuine mutual respect and understanding to overcome hate, prejudice and discrimination must come as a result of collective efforts said OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara in a statement on today’s International Day for Tolerance.
“The 2013 Ukrainian OSCE Chairmanship is dedicated to promoting in full all commitments by participating States to combat all forms of racial and ethnic hatred, xenophobia and discrimination,” Kozhara said. “We need concerted action by governments, civil society and communities to promote tolerance and respect for diversity."
“One of the key priorities of the Ukrainian Chairmanship is to promote education of youth on the principles of tolerance and non-discrimination,” the OSCE Chair said. “To ensure that the youth of today has the tools needed to contribute to vibrant, just and successful societies, we have to make human rights education an integral element of their broader educational experience from an early age.”
Kozhara also praised the contribution of his Personal Representatives for combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, Christians and members of other religions, and combating Anti-Semitism.
“No participating State is immune to manifestations of intolerance, including hate crimes. Exchanges of best national and local practices are therefore essential for advancing the principles of tolerance and non-discrimination,” he said.
Kozhara also cited the OSCE Youth Summit, held on the initiative of the Ukrainian Chairmanship in July-August 2013 at the International Youth Centre “Artek” in Crimea. It brought together some 600 representatives from all over the OSCE region and its partners for co-operation to exchange views on how to contribute to tolerance and non-discrimination, conflict prevention and peaceful development.
The power of human rights education in promoting mutual understanding and respect for diversity was also a key topic of the OSCE High-Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination in May this year.