Armenian Children to Be Deported from Holland

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AMSTERDAM (Public Radio of Armenia) — Two Armenian children, who have spent a decade growing up in the Netherlands, are set to be deported to Armenia after they came out of their hiding and reported to the authorities, Aljazeera reported.

Dutch officials on Tuesday, September 4, said Howick, 13, and his sister Lili, 12, who had been hiding for the previous three days to avoid imminent deportation, would be sent to their mother in Yerevan, before September 8.

They had arrived in the Netherlands in 2008.

Last year, the mother, Armina Hambartsumyan, lost a decade-long legal battle for asylum and was sent to Armenia without her children.

Before she was deported, the 37-year-old sent the two children into hiding but they were found by Dutch officials and sent to a foster family.

Last week, the Council of State, the Netherlands’ highest court, decided that the children should be deported to Armenia to live with their mother.

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Before they went into hiding, the children wrote letters to Dutch King Willem-Alexander, begging them to be allowed to stay.

“All our friends live here. We have moved 17 times already, but now we finally live in a nice place,” they wrote, adding that they missed their mother, but she was unable to take care of them. The only option for us is her coming to the Netherlands, because here, we can live as a normal family.”

Meanwhile, their supporters — including Princess Laurentien, the king’s sister-in-law — had been campaigning to keep them in the Netherlands.

Howick and Lili also appeared in a TV show with Princess Laurentien, who said it is important to remember that these were “young children who needed stability.”

Defence for Children, a Dutch non-governmental organization, also warned that the children could suffer if they are deported.

 

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