Amsterdam urges pardon for Armenian children facing deportation

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


The Amsterdam city council has urged Mayor Femke Halsema to ask State Secretary Mark Harbers of Justice and Security to implement a so-called children’s pardon to allow Armenian children Howik and Lili  to stay, NL Times reports.

The motion was filed by ChristenUnie councilor Don Ceder and was supported by a vast majority of the Amsterdam council.

“Over the past weekend we have seen how urgent it is that we quickly find a good solution for these children. I am pleased that a large majority of the council believes that Amsterdam should take its responsibility and plead with the State Secretary for a solution other than deportation,” Ceder is quoted as saying.

“As far as I am concerned, this also means faster clarity during a procedure and a merciful application. Our message to the State Secretary when it comes to rooted children that are likely to be deported: they are already home.”

On Monday Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the children’s pardon would not be extended. Mark Harbers also seems not to be planning a pardon. He is appointing an independent committee to investigate asylum seekers who stay in the Netherlands for a long time even after their asylum application was rejected, he said in a letter to parliament on Tuesday.

The fact that Howick and Lili are allowed to stay in the Netherlands does not mean that the government is deviating from the coalition agreement, he said. He stressed that “the definitive regulation for long-term resident children” will be maintained.

After living in the Netherlands for 10 years, the children were set to be deported to Armenia on Saturday. Harbers decided to make an exception for them at the last minute. Their mother was deported last year.

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