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May 18, 2020 – Somaliland Independence Day

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.

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.

This is normally an opportunity to gather as a community to celebrate this occasion.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made normal activities impossible.

During these difficult times we must look after the spiritual, emotional and mental well-being of each other.  I encourage you to connect with loved ones, friends and vulnerable members of the community online or by phone.  Many places of worship are hosting services online and implementing innovative ways to connect their communities, while staying physically apart. Check the website of your place of worship for information about online services and supports.