Two children who went into hiding after facing deportation to Armenia can be sent back to their mother’s home country, despite never having lived there and not speaking the language, judges in Utrecht said on Monday.
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.
Armina Hambartsjumian, the mother of Lily (11) and Howick (12), was sent back to Armenia in August last year after sending the children to a secret address. They were found a week later and have been in the care of an independent foundation which looks after child refugees since then.
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.
The Dutch child protection council Raad voor de Kinderbescherming told broadcaster NOS it expected the children’s mother would be able to look after them. They can also get help with learning the language from an American foundation there, the council is quoted as saying.