After 96 Days, Church Finally Ends Prayer Service Preventing Family’s Deportation
The vigil ended after the Dutch Cabinet agreed to allow the refugee family to stay in the country.
After 96 days, a Netherlands church this week finally ended an ongoing prayer service, which was being held round the clock to prevent an Armenian family from being deported.
Taking advantage of a Dutch law that prohibits police from entering a place of worship during a service, the Tamrazyan family and their supporters had been engaged in rites at Bethel Church in The Hague since October 26.
The service ended Wednesday when the Dutch Cabinet decided to allow the Tamrazyans and other families that were in danger of being deported to stay in the Netherlands.
The Tamrazyans and the other families had previously been rejected for permanent residence despite living in the country for years.
“We are incredibly grateful that hundreds of refugee families will have a safe future in the Netherlands,” said Bethel Church spokesman Theo Hettema.
The decision on the Tamrazyans came too late for a second family, the Grigoryans. That family of five was deported to Armenia last week prior to the cabinet’s decision.
“This is unfair and very painful,” their lawyer told Dutch news agency ANP. “If their deportation had been postponed a few days, the family would have been allowed to stay.”
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