The Armenian woman deported on Monday without her children, who are in hiding in the Netherlands, had been told since 2009 that she would have to leave, junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff said on Monday evening.
The deportation of the woman, who has lived in the Netherlands for nine years with her children aged 11 and 12, has been condemned by human and child rights organisations.
Dijkhoff said the woman had tried multiple times to win the right to remain in the Netherlands but that these had all been rejected. Her case has been assessed ‘time and time again’ in court and judges have always found against her, the minister is quoted as saying by broadcaster NOS.
Although separating a mother from her children is a far-reaching decision ‘the mother regrettably decided not to leave with her children,’ he said, adding that the Netherlands is ready to reunite the family as soon as it can.
The children were born in Russia and have never lived in Armenia. Nor do they speak the language. According to some reports, the woman was born in Azerbaijan and has never lived in Armenia but does have Armenian nationality.
The children do not qualify for the amnesty for child refugees because the courts have ruled their mother did not cooperate sufficiently with efforts to deport her.
Only a handful of cases have succeeded in qualifying and a relaxation of the rules – particularly the clause about cooperating with deportation – is likely to be part of the ongoing coalition talks.