Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 140, Issue 61

Tuesday, June 3, 2003
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker

The Late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan


Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, a passionate humanist and great philanthropist, who passed away recently. He was the uncle of the present Aga Khan, Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, forty-ninth hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Moslems.

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan was one of those who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

During that time, he catalysed United Nations’ efforts in response to several major humanitarian crises. When Pakistan was created at the end of a difficult civil war, he directed UN efforts to take charge of the ten million refugees this conflict created. He helped thousands of Vietnamese refugees who had left their communist country find new homes. In the early 1970s, he played a critical role in assisting the Asians expelled from Uganda by dictator Idi Amin.

My family and myself benefited directly from his assistance. We found asylum in Canada, thanks, in large part, to his sustained efforts. He continued to advise us for a number of years.

While preferring to remain out of the limelight, Prince Sadruddin received many honours. His exceptional humanitarian efforts were frequently recognized. He was made Commandant of the Légion d’honneur by France, Commander of the Golden Ark by the Netherlands, and more recently Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for services rendered to humanitarian and artistic causes.

With his passing, the world has lost a great philanthropist, one who fought unceasingly to lessen the suffering of millions, regardless of caste, skin colour or religion. A highly devout Moslem, he was always prepared to do his part to improve the lot of others, within the true spirit of Islam.

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan worked in the shadows to improve the lot of the world’s most vulnerable people. His death leaves a huge void. He will be greatly missed.