In 2015, Sweden faced one of its greatest humanitarian challenges: the #migrant crisis. As war and poverty pushed people from the Middle East and North Africa to seek refuge in Europe, Sweden opened its doors to a staggering 162,877 asylum seekers− 24,000 of whom were unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan.
The sheer number of arrivals overwhelmed Swedish immigration officials, who had difficulty keeping up with processing so many sudden applications. Unfortunately, when these unaccompanied minors turned eighteen years old, their chances of receiving asylum drastically decreased despite having particular protection needs due to their young age.
This issue is explored in greater depth in the documentary “The Unaccompanied,” which looks at the unfortunate plight of refugee children in Sweden. The film follows three teenagers—Ahmed from Afghanistan, Diallo from Guinea and Rebin from Iraq—as they navigate an uncertain future due to bureaucratic red tape and a lack of political will to help them. It illustrates how Swedes have responded differently to different groups of minors and highlights the financial strain on social services that offer support for those seeking asylum.
The documentary’s director Anna Odell hopes it will shed light on this pressing matter and inspire people to take action. “I want this film to be an eye opener,” she said. “To make people think about what kind of country we are creating.” So if you’re looking for a way to learn more about an important issue facing our world today, then consider watching “The Unaccompanied” and join the effort in helping refugees find safety and security in their new home.