SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A young Armenian woman and her four family members have moved into a church in Katwijk in a bid to avoid being deported back to their home country.
The family live in a refugee centre in Katwijk and are members of the church. Hayarpi, who studies econometrics at Tilburg University, her sister, brother and parents have been in the Netherlands for nine years but are set to be sent back to Armenia.
Hayarpi says in a Twitter message that her family was was granted refugee status at three separate court hearings, but the Dutch state went to appeal each time. They were eventually rejected three years ago.
The family hope that junior justice minister Mark Harbers will use his powers of discretion to let them stay, as he eventually did in the case of the Armenian children Lily and Howick.
This case is particularly embarrassing for the coalition government because Hayarpi is an active member of ChristenUnie, which campaigned changes in the child amnesty rules before becoming part of the coalition government.
The party was involved with intense lobbying behind the scenes to persuade Harbers to change his mind and to allow Lily and Howick to stay. (DutchNews)