Armenian teen raised in the Netherlands again facing deportation
A 14-year-old Armenian girl faces deportation after living in the Netherlands for 12 years. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) rejected Milena's asylum application, her lawyer Eliza Chupieva confirmed to AD.
"Very disappointing and very sad. Milena is completely devastated," Chupieva said to the newspaper. The teen girl burst into tears when she heard the news, the lawyer said.
Milena came to the Netherlands with her family from Armenia twelve years ago. She was 1 year old at the time. Her family is of Yazid ethnicity, a minority in Armenia. They fled for fear of her father's life. He is an activist who advocates for the rights of the Yazidi people - an occupation that cost multiple family members their lives.
In 2018, Milena's asylum application was rejected, and she and her family returned to Armenia. The family did not feel safe in the country and moved to Russia. They also felt unsafe there. "Milena was bullied and severely discriminated against there," her lawyer said. The family returned to the Netherlands, to West Friesland, where Milena grew up.
For the past two years, the family has been in hiding in West Friesland for fear of having to leave the country, while Chupieva started an objection procedure based on the European Convention of Human Rights.
According to Chupieva, the IND's rejection of Milena's application is illegal. "There are references to the arguments of the deportation in 2018, but the situation has changed enormously. Milena is four years older, even more rooted in the Netherlands. That is a very long period for a girl of fourteen. They mention a letter to the State Secretary in 2017, but a more recent letter to the State Secretary is not included. She was also told that the decision is the result of her parents' choices, but as a minor, she cannot do anything about it." The lawyer is appealing the decision. "We are going to take the matter to court. Milena can't go back."
Milena is devastated, she told NH Nieuws. "The IND gave us false hope. During the interview, they talked to us like we would get a positive result. I expected a different decision," she said.