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Two Armenian Children Go Into Hiding To Avoid Deportation From Netherlands

Two Armenian children who were scheduled to be deported from the Netherlands have gone into hiding, a Dutch government spokesman said.

Justice Ministry spokesman Maarten Molenbeek said on September 8 that the minors, who have only been identified as Lili and Howick, went missing from the foster home where they were staying during the night, hours after an Amsterdam court rejected their final bid to stop their deportation.

The children, aged 12 and 13, came to the Netherlands with their mother in 2008.

Their asylum claim was rejected by Dutch courts that ruled Armenia is a safe country.

The children's mother, Armina Hambartsjumian, was deported to Armenia in 2017.

The case has attracted mass public attention, with the children appearing on national television to plead their case.

The children have never been to Armenia and do not speak Armenian.

Their lawyers argued unsuccessfully that their mother was unable to care for them properly.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP