NETHERLANDS—Two Armenian children, ages 13 and 12, face expulsion from the Netherlands where they have resided for the last 10 years. In 2008, after arriving from Russia, Armina Hambartsjumian, their mother, applied for asylum in the Netherlands. Last year, after being denied asylum, she was deported to Armenia. Before leaving, however, she sent her children into hiding.
After having been found by authorities, the children, Howick and Lily, were taken in by a family friend while their case was being considered. After a series of asylum rulings, a final decision was made last month that there were no grounds for Lily and Howick to stay. Armenia was a safe country and the Council of State, the Netherlands’ highest court, concluded there was no risk of persecution.
The plight of the children has captivated the country and even received the attention of the Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Princess Laurentien. Rutte said he had empathy with the children, but the country also needed to follow “a fair and strict policy.”
“Those who don’t meet the criteria cannot be allowed to stay.”