Harbers rumoured to be in hiding over threats

UtrechtCentral.com - Blog - Jon Wilkins - State secretary of justice and security Harbers in hiding over threats

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According to reports, State Secretary of Justice and Security, Mark Harbers received such serious threats regarding the deportation of the two Armenian children, Lili and Howick that he had to go into hiding last week.

As we recently reported, the two young asylum seekers in question, came to the Netherlands in 2008 with their mother. They grew up in The Hague and have never been to Armenia. They also do not speak the language. Their planned deportation was met with a lot of criticism. They now live in Amersfoort. Their mother was deported to Armenia last year.

Howick and Lili were due to be put on a plane to Armenia on Saturday morning, but having disappeared from view for a time, late on Saturday State Secretary Harbers, who is responsible for Asylum, decided to allow them to stay in the Netherlands.

According to reports, the threats made to Harbers had nothing to do with his decision to let the children stay in the Netherlands. It was the decision of the courts to expel them that was the problem. Harbers seemed to get caught in the middle.

We don’t know about the nature of the threats and it is strongly disputed that the threats influenced Harbers’ decision to let the Armenian children remain in the country.

Howick and Lili are of course delighted that they are allowed to stay in the Netherlands, they now think that after 10 years of stress, insecurity, sadness and anger, that they now know everything is going to change.

Lili is reported to have said that the best thing will be able to sleep well again for the first time in a year, to sleep peacefully. Howick is just happy that he can go play football again, finally go to school again and know that he can stay at one school for the rest of his life. Lili is reported to now be happy that they now have a future.

Of course, they are pleased that Harbers decided to let them stay at the last moment. Lili said they were both very grateful. Howick added that everyone has been good in them.

It is this that stands out, Dutch common sense and fair play has delivered a result that most of the country are happy with. It’s not often that a country can come together over something, it is just a shame that a minority see fit to threaten a publicly elected official, who was just doing his job.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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