Worshippers are hoping for a Christmas miracle at one church within the Netherlands, the place non secular leaders have been holding round the clock prayer providers for greater than six weeks to forestall an Armenian household from being deported.
Below Dutch regulation, police are barred from getting into a spot of worship whereas a ceremony is in progress. In consequence, a whole bunch of supporters from the Netherlands and overseas have held continuous providers on the Bethel Church in The Hague to dam the deportation of the Tamrazyan household.
They’re “from everywhere in the world, and which means lots to our household … It provides us power to maintain going,” stated daughter Hayarpi, 21. “I actually don’t know what the result might be, however we hope we will keep right here as a result of that is our residence.”
The congregation hopes to persuade Dutch authorities to make an exception to immigration guidelines on humanitarian grounds.
“We’ll proceed for so long as we imagine it’s needed and doable,” Bethel Minister Derk Stegeman stated.
“We hope, at Christmas, our minister will make an incredible gesture” and grant clemency to the household, he stated.
The household got here to the Netherlands in 2010 and says they can’t safely return residence as a result of they’re thought-about dissidents by Armenian authorities, though the nationalist Republican Get together authorities that has dominated Armenia since independence from the Soviet Union was toppled this 12 months after peaceable protests.
The Netherlands took in a whole bunch of hundreds of migrant employees within the 1960s and 1970s however now has one of many EU’s hardest immigration insurance policies. The conservative authorities below Prime Minister Mark Rutte says “financial” immigrants can’t keep, although refugees fleeing violence have a proper to asylum.
The Tamrazyans lived legally within the Netherlands for 9 years whereas their asylum software made its means via the courts. However a last rejection got here this 12 months, and so they have been refused an exemption below a program for minors residing within the nation for greater than 5 years.
“They’ve been informed quite a few instances they’ve to go away the Netherlands,” the deputy minister for asylum and migration affairs, Mark Harbers, stated on Dutch tv final week. “This (vigil) appears fairly hopeless to me.”
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Hayarpi and her sister, 19-year-old Warduhi, have been finding out at a Dutch college, whereas their youthful brother, 15-year-old Seyran, performs on an area soccer group.
“My brother, sister and I grew up within the Netherlands,” she informed journalists. “All our pals are right here, and my sister and I are finding out right here. That is simply the place we belong.”