PRESS-RELEASE: Presentation of the documentary "New Walls (Women refugees in Eastern Europe)" by Paula Palacios

17 September, Kyiv (Ukraine)  The UN Refugee Agency together with the State Migration Service of Ukraine presented the documentary film "New Walls (Women refugees in Eastern Europe)" by Paula Palacios in a closed screening premiere in the Red Hall of Cinema House. The event was addressed by H.E. Mr. Jon Fredriksen and H.E. Mr. Jose Moyano as well as Mr. Mykola Kovalchuk, Chairman of the State Migration Service. UNHCR's Regional Representative said:

  "It does not always take much to help. All we really need to do is to be tolerant and inclusive all that refugee women seek is to find their place in a host society: to feel welcome, to be understood, to be accepted and respected."

The documentary produced by Al Jazeera and narrated by UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendriks portrays the interrupted lives of the five refugee women who escaped from persecution in their countries of origin in order to seek refuge, safety and a new home. The film shot on location in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, offers a unique view on how women targeted by persecution cope with their fate. The film also reflects how they personally experience forced displacement in Eastern European context.

In her closing speech, Ms. Paula Palacios, the producer and the director of the film, who travelled to Kyiv for the event, emphasized:

  "In my job I can only try to highlight certain issues but here today, there are many people in this hall who have the chance in their everyday life to change the lives of many people, including refugee women."

4 women portrayed in the documentary attended the event, together with the refugees residing in Ukraine and people who help persons seeking asylum in Ukraine to rebuild their lives.

The film screening was followed by the performance of Ms. Iva Bittova, Czech violinist-vocalist who wrote music to the film and kindly performed several songs to the audience. Participants of the event could also see the exhibition of photos taken during the film shooting, as well as the exhibition dedicated to the work of Fritjof Nansen donated by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine. Some 400 plus guests tasted food prepared by refugee communities from Afghanistan, Congo, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, and Uzbekistan and enjoyed African drums and Georgian dancers. 

The documentary was produced by Al-Jazeera Documentary Channel, with the support of the Spanish Women and Health Foundation, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine and UNHCR.

Thanks to Sponsors of the event: Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway, Embassy of Czech Republic, Embassy of Slovak Republic, Embassy of Spain, Austrian Airlines, Czech Airlines and Dragon Capital.






For further information please contact Oleksandra Makovska, Associate Regional PI Officer at UNHCR Regional Representation for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, Public Information Unit. Tel.: +380 44 288-97-10, +380 50 310 1767 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Web-site:


Background information:

  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950. It became operational on January 1, 1951. UNHCR's contributions to the world peace have been recognized with Nobel Peace prizes in 1954 and 1981.
  • UNHCR works in Ukraine since March 1994. From 1996 to 2011 UNHCR contributed over 36 million USD to Ukraine. UNHCR programmes have over the years enhanced the capacities of numerous Government agencies and non-governmental organization and provided life sustaining assistance to thousands of individuals (direct assistance in the form of food and non-food items, medical assistance or monthly subsistence allowance in 2011 amounted to 450,000 USD).
  • UNHCR has since its inception provided training and material support in the form of equipment (computers, vehicles, refurbishment of premises) to numerous Government agencies (the State
  • UNHCR notes that Ukraine accepted to abide by international refugee law 10 years ago by acceding to the 1951 Convention related to the status of refugees and that it has indicated readiness to accede to the 1954 and 1961Conventions on Statelessness.
  • Committee for Nationalities and Religions, Regional Migration Services, Border Guards) to the tune of 2.5 million USD.
  • As of January 1, 2012 there are app. 2,500 recognized refugees and 5,875 stateless persons in Ukraine.
  • In 2011, the three countries' programmes (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine) managed by the UNHCR Regional Representation in Kyiv amounted to 4.7 million USD ex-staffing.
  • UNHCR provides protection to refugees and other displaced persons on a non-political and humanitarian basis. The objective is to seek permanent solutions for persons who depend on international protection which, in the event of impossibility of return to the country of origin, entails providing for a supportive environment to integrate locally.
  • Globally there are 43 million forcibly displaced persons, the majority of whom receive some form of UNHCR assistance (15.2 million refugees, 27.1 million internally displaced, 983 thousand asylum seekers).
  • There are as many as 12 million stateless persons around the globe and 6.6 million are known to UNHCR in some 60 countries world wide.
  • Over the past 60 years UNHCR has saved millions of lives, by bringing donor funds and international political will to bear on the world's refugee problems on a scale unimaginable prior to its founding.
  • In addition to saving lives, UNHCR continues to help millions of people to rebuild their lives, to return safely home or to find new homes.