An important part of the functions of the National Peace Council as spelt out by the National Peace Council Act, 2011 (Act 818) is promoting the understanding of the values of diversity, trust, tolerance, confidence building, negotiation, dialogue, and reconciliation. Besides, in 1996, the UN General Assembly (by resolution 51/95) invited member states to observe the International Day of Tolerance on 16 November every year. It is in this context that the NPC joins the world to commemorate the International Day of Tolerance annually.

Tolerance, an instrumental element in the building of sustainable peace expresses itself in many forms such as religious, political, ethnic, cultural, racial, sex among others. Tolerance is much more than passively accepting the other. It brings obligations to act, and must be taught, nurtured, and defended. Tolerance requires investment in people, and in the fulfilment of their full potential through education, inclusion, and opportunities. This means building societies founded on respect for human rights, where fear, distrust and marginalization are supplanted by pluralism, participation, and respect for differences.

Notably, Articles 17, clause (1) and (2) guarantee to all person’s equality before the law and prohibit discrimination against any person on such grounds as gender, ethnic origin, and religion among others. It is more paramount even now than ever to continue to coexist peacefully and tolerate our differences despite our rich diversity of religion, political and ethnic affiliations, and groups as global peace is threatened by violent extremism, hate speech, xenophobia, coup d’états’, wars etc., As a pluralistic nation, overlooking the pockets of intolerance against others will be a major catalyst of unimaginable tensions leading to unprecedented chaos and calamities.

The Council wishes to remind all Ghanaians that maintaining national unity and cohesion requires a conscious and deliberate efforts of all. Every individual must rise to the occasion and play the role of a watchdog on his/her fellow citizen against the eulogization of one’s religion, political and ethnic groups over the other to gain superiority – this is a greasy path to mayhem. We all need to shift our focus from our differences and work towards building a stronger, more united Ghana. Divisive utterances and behaviors will only hold us back as a nation from reaching our full potential as a people. It is crucial we carry the messages of tolerance, unity, and social cohesion across all levels of society and maintain the culture of inter-ethnic marriages in our society.

On the International Day of Tolerance, let us recognize the mounting threats posed by those who strive to divide, and let us pledge to forge a path defined by dialogue, social cohesion, and mutual understanding.

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Peace is not something you wish for. It is something you make, something you are, something you do, and something you give away.

Robert Fulghum