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Orange Ribbon Campaign - Celebrating Refugees: Ahmed Hussen

Part 5 of our Celebrating Refugees Series take us to the Honourable Ahmed Hussen. As a young boy, he left war torn Somalia to forge a new life in Toronto. He first resided in Hamilton and later moved to Canada's largest city in 1993.  In 1996 he moved to Regent Park.

It was his experience living in Regent Park that drew him into politics. Hussen co-founded the neighbourhood association that pushed for the inclusion of more public housing in the $500-million redevelopment of the community, and eventually became a prominent voice as president of the Canadian Somali Congress. For his post-secondary studies, Hussen attended York University, earning a BA in History in 2002. Hussen later received a law degree from the University of Ottawa, and passed the bar exam in September 2012.

In December 2014, he presented himself as a candidate for a Liberal Party of Canada seat in the riding of York South—Weston for the 42nd Canadian federal election. Hussen won the nomination in a field of six aspirants and little more than a year later was named Minister of Immigration, Refugees an and Citizenship by Prime Minster Justin Trudeau.

When it comes to refugees, simply put, the world is in the midst of a global displacement crisis the likes of which has not been seen since WWII. Below are some facts:

  • At the end of 2016 there were 65.3 million forcibly displaced people. They included 21.3 million refugees, 40.8 million internally displaced and 3.2 million asylum seekers.

  • If they were a country they would be the world's 21st largest.

  • More than half of refugees come from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

  • Developing regions host 86 percent of refugees.

  • Turkey hosts by far the largest number with more than 3 million refugees and asylum-seekers, including 2.7 million Syrians.

  • Lebanon has the highest concentration relative to its own population with nearly one in five people being a refugee.

  • Globally, nearly one in 200 children is a refugee. The number of child refugees has more than doubled in the last decade.

  • Growing numbers of children are crossing borders alone. Last year, more than 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries - triple the number in 2015.


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