For over a month, a Dutch church protects refugee family by conducting religious services in order to save them from deportation. Here is everything you need to know about this touching story.
Dutch Church protects refugee family
For over a month, a Protestant church in The Hague has been conducting non-stop religious services to protect an Armenian refugee family from deportation. In order to keep the services going, reverends from around the country have taken turns holding services at Bethel Church to prevent the police from arresting the family. This is because, by law police officers in the Netherlands are not allowed to enter places of worship during religious services.
Sasun and Anousche Tamrazyan and their three children, have been living in the Netherlands for nine years. They came to Holland after being forced to flee their native Armenia after Sasun’s political activism earned them death threats. The family sought asylum in the Netherlands and applied for a “children’s pardon,” . This is a policy that allows refugee families with children who have resided in The Netherlands for more than five years to get a permit to stay. However, their application was denied. Once the Tamrazyan family found out about the deportation order, they sought help from churches near by. The Bethel Church community decided to welcome the family in order to stay true to “the openness and hospitality of the church.”
The Netherlands and its harsh asylum laws
Over the last couple of years, the Netherlands has come under fire for its harsh asylum laws. A similar story hit mainstream media this September, with the deportation of Howick and Lili to Armenia – two children who only speak Dutch. Thankfully, after a lot of media coverage and a strong outcry from the public the two siblings got to stay in Holland, and their lawyer was attempting to bring their mother to the Netherlands.
However, others have been arguing that the Netherlands is too soft on asylum seekers. Over the summer, many Dutch towns saw squatters take over houses and flats that temporarily had no one living in them. This lead to a heated discussion whether or not behavior like that is acceptable considering their living conditions. On top of that, the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) have to pay over one million euros to asylum seekers seeking refuge in the Netherlands. These penalty payments – which are likely to quadruple by the end of the year – have been claimed because the service is too slow.
What is your opinion on the asylum laws in the Netherlands? Do you agree with the decision of the Dutch church to protect the refugee family? Let us know in the comments below!