36 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
that the score was 3–3). The Aga Khan saw this and thought the aide was
suggesting 6,000 more immigrants and asked if Canada would take 6,000
more. Prime Minister Trudeau shrugged and said, “Yes.” That is how Canada
came to take 7,000 refugees from Uganda.2
As a result of Idi Amin’s declaration, my family and I left Uganda under
difficult circumstances with only a few suitcases of belongings. We lived in
London, England for a few months and then moved to Canada, where we
started a new life. We lived in Calgary and ultimately settled in Vancouver,
where we have remained since May 27, 1973. Many of my aunts and uncles
and their families have settled in other locations in Canada, the United
States and Europe.
Thus, since the 900s, Ismailis have wandered the world, from Syria, to
the Middle East, to Persia, to Afghanistan, to India, to Africa and to North
America and Europe. Today, Ismailis live on every continent and in most
countries in the world. The ability to settle in different parts of the world
has been an underpinning of our history, our culture and our beliefs.
THE WORLD TODAY
According to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the difference
between refugees and asylum seekers is that an asylum seeker has
left their country in search of protection from persecution. A refugee has
already found such protection.
Seeking asylum is a human right. Thus, everyone should be allowed to
enter another country to seek asylum. Internally displaced people are
essentially on the run in their own country—putative refugees who have
not been able or willing to cross an international border. The International
Organization for Migration (“IOM”) defines a migrant as any person who is
moving or has moved across an international border or within a state,
regardless of legal status.3
How Many Migrants Are There?
As of 2017, about 258 million people, or one in every 30, were living outside
their country of birth.4 That is a record high—there were 173 million in
2000.5 The latest projection is there will be 405 million international
migrants by 2050.6
Which Countries Produce, and Which Receive, the Most Migrants?
According to the IOM, the United States, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia and
the United Kingdom were the top five destinations for migrants in 2015. The
United States has about 46 million foreign-born residents. Germany has
about 12 million.7