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I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to members of the Canadian Somaliland community on the occasion of Somaliland Independence Day.

Somaliland, located in the Horn of Africa, asserted its independence as the Republic of Somaliland on May 18, 1991. Somaliland was a British protectorate from 1884 to June 26, 1960, when it first gained independence. On July 1, 1960, it joined the former Italian Somalia becoming the Somali Republic.

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During its formative years, the union functioned well under democratic rule, with the last democratic election being held in 1969.  In the 1970s, the union began to falter following the takeover of the government by a dictatorship.  During the civil war of the 1980s, thousands were massacred, their lands and livelihoods pillaged beyond recognition.

In 1991, after the breakdown of the central government of the Somali Republic, the area formerly known as British Somaliland declared independence.

The Republic of Somaliland is an autonomous region that remains unrecognized by any country or international organization, although many foreign governments maintain informal ties with the state. Somaliland’s emerging democracy combines traditional and western systems of governance.

Toronto is a proud multicultural City that embraces a wide variety of cultures and faiths.  Our City flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. It is important to recognize each and every community that plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.

As the Newcomer’s Advocate with the City of Toronto, I strongly believe that we must work to together to promote togetherness. We must Respect our newcomer communities. We must Accept our newcomer communities. We should Celebrate our diversity and Embrace our different cultures and traditions because we are all part of the human RACE.

Somaliland Independence Day

Jim Karygiannis, PC is a Canadian politician. He formerly served in the House of Commons of Canada as a Liberal MP from 1988 to 2014 and is currently a member of the Toronto City Council.

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