UNHCR presented documentary film about Somali refugee minor in Ukraine

On October 23, UNHCR Kyiv held a Molodist International Film Festival premiere screening of Ali'ens: Somalis in Transit at Cinema Kyiv Cultural Center. This documentary film by Spanish director Paula Palacios is the story of a 15-year-old Somali boy Ali and his 16-year-old friend Yoonis, two adolescent refugees, who fled the conflict in Somalia. Hoping to get Europe, they ended up in an Ukrainian migrant detention center.

As Paula Palacios notes, this documentary was born from her meeting with two very especial aliens. "At their very young age, they are, in a way, like any other teenager. But, since they have been going through a lot of strange things [in life], their only way out is to believe they can 'fly'. Are there borders for the people who believe they can 'fly'"? 

The premiere gathered representatives of government agencies and international organizations which work with refugees. Vanno Noupech, the UNHCR Deputy Regional Representative, thanked director of the film for being dedicated to attracting public attention to refugee issue. It is the second refugee-related documentary film by Ms Palacios. The first one, New Walls (Women refugees in Eastern Europe), discusses the life of refugee women in Eastern Europe and premiered in Kyiv last year.

According to UNHCR estimates, about 40 per cent of refugees in Ukraine are women and children and they suffer the most from forced resettlement and adaptation in new conditions. Children who ended up in a foreign country and are not accompanied by parents are an especially vulnerable category.

To date, UNHCR and our implementing partners registered 41 unaccompanied children among asylum seekers and refugees in Ukraine. Vanno Noupech, "Unaccompanied сhildren are an especially vulnerable social category, which require top-priority attention from government as well as non-governmental organizations."

Speech of Mr. Vanno Noupech, UNHCR Deputy Representative for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine


Ali Ahmed Warsame, one of the main protagonists of the Ali'ens film by Paula Palacios, was present at the event and shared his impressions of participation in shooting of the documentary film.

The film was sponsored by the Al Jazeera Documentary channel with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Photo: Volodymyr Shuvaev/Repor.to

On November 10, 2013 the Aliens movies by Spanish filmmaker Paula Palacios was awarded the Best Documentary at the 6th Kharkiv Human Rights Festival "Steps"

Vikna- STB TV channel: 14 years old refugee inspired Spanish Film Maker for the Aliens Movie

First National TV channel: Premiere of the movie about refugee from Somalia took place in the framework of Molodist Film Festival in Kyiv 

Kultura TV: Premiere of the Aliens: Somalis in Transit documentary