29. There should be no tolerance for intolerance

UN Millennium Declaration makes a reference to ‘Tolerance’ saying that “Human beings must respect one another, in all their diversity of belief, culture and language.” In the EU Lisbon Treaty ‘tolerance’ is only mentioned in the context of broader rights: “The Union is founded on the values …that are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”

However, Tolerance’ is not supported by any specific rights, neither in the UN Charter, nor in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. This became clear during the ‘migration crises’ in the EU in 2015-2016 that the EU needs such rights. Therefore, in 2016, the EU Commission set up the EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia, and other forms of intolerance.

On the other hand, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves about what happened to tolerance in the Netherlands after the murder on 2 November 2004 of a Dutch film director and columnist Theo van Gogh who was killed by Mohammed Bouyeri. The demonstrations that followed in the next few days had placards saying, “No Tolerance for Intolerance”. This is certainly a challenge for multicultural societies and perhaps we have to go back to the drawing board designing a system that would better support social cohesion than what is being practiced right now. To know more read here.