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Dutch Church Has Been Holding Service Continuously for Over a Month to Protect Refugee Family From Getting Deported

Over the last month, hundreds of pastors from all over the Netherlands have taken turns holding non-stop service at a Protestant church in the Hague, where a family of Armenian refugees scheduled for deportation has taken shelter. Dutch law prevents police from entering places of worship during prayers, and religious leaders are determined to continue the service for as long as it takes authorities to reconsider their decision.

The Tamrazyan family fled their native Armenia in 2009, after receiving death threats due to the father’s political activism. They sought asylum in the Netherlands and after going through a seven-year application process, a judge granted the family asylum. However, the Dutch Government successfully appealed that decision in court, and in September, Sasun Tamrazyan, his wife Anousche and their three children were officially notified that their asylum status had been lifted. No longer feeling safe in the asylum center they had been assigned to, the Tamrazyan family sought shelter at the Gereformeerde Kerk (GKV) church, in Katwijk, of which they had become members three years ago. They were welcome with open arms.

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