SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two children who went into hiding after facing deportation to Armenia have been given a last minute reprieve and can await the results of a new attempt to win them residency rights in the Netherlands. Howick (12) and Lily (13) should have been deported on Monday but their flight was cancelled following a last-ditch legal appeal.
In April, a court ruled Howick (12) and Lily (13) can be sent back to their mother’s home country, despite never having lived there and not speaking the language. The court upheld former justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff’s decision not to give the children a residency permit on the basis of ‘temporary humanitarian grounds’, clearing the way for them to be deported.
Their mother Armina Hambartsjumian was deported to Armenia in August last year after sending the children to a secret address. They were found a week later and now live with a foster family.
The children were born in Russia and have lived in the Netherlands for over nine years. However, they have not qualified for the government’s amnesty for child refugees. Now their lawyer is attempting to win them refugee rights as independent individuals, rather than as children. That process is expected to take several months. (DutchNews)