Friday 13 December 2019

Deporting Lili and Howick infringes fundamental rights: ombudsman

Defence for Children held a demonstration in support of the children outside parliament this week. Photo: Laurens van Putten / HH

Children’s ombudsman Margrite Klaverboer says the Dutch government will be infringing on fundamental childrens’ rights if Lili and Howick are deported back to Armenia.

The children, aged 12 and 13, will be take to an orphanage on their return and their mother, who was deported a year ago, is unable to take care of them, Klaverboer told television programme Pauw on Thursday evening.

‘I have read the file thoroughly and I know their mother is not capable of looking after them at the moment,’ she said. ‘There is no where for them to live and they cannot go to school.’

RTL Nieuws reported earlier on Thursday that finding a school for the children will be very difficult because they do not speak or write Armenian, and there is no education available, for example, in English.

The children are set to be deported on Saturday. They were born in Russia and have lived in the Netherlands for over 10 years, during which their mother made repeated efforts to claim asylum. However, they have not qualified for the government’s amnesty for child refugees.


Kalverboer said the children’s future is clearly in the Netherlands and that she has discussed the problems with junior justice ministry Mark Harbers. He has the right of discretion to grant the children a residence permit.

So far Harbers has refused to do so.

The Dutch supreme court, which ruled last month the children can be deported, said in its ruling that help is available for the children when they return if their mother is unable to care for them, as has been claimed. ‘The children will not end up on the streets’, the court said. has been free for 13 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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