On the afternoon of the 26. October began in The Hague, Netherlands a service, don’t want to end. Day and night the priest in the Protestant Bethel chapel, without a break. It is not an entry in the Guinness book of records. It is about the protection of a family.
The family Tamrazyan has not left the Church since the day. The Tamrazyans – the parents and their three children, Hayarpi, 21, Warduhi, 19, and Seyran, 15 – are Christians, who come from Armenia and nine years ago, for political reasons, in the Netherlands fled. In the summer, a court rejected her request for asylum.
the organizers of The so far, more than 1300 hours of continuing divine service called on a Dutch law that forbids the police to enter a Church during the service, and delay so that the family will be deported. The eldest daughter of the Tamrazyans, Hayarpi, tweeting about everyday life in the Church and writes poetry. In a it is said: “Church asylum For so many weeks / months / I wonder / How is this possible”.
At the request of the MIRROR wrote on Tuesday, 18. December 2018, Lennart Wegewijs, a spokesman for the Ministry of justice and security: “for privacy reasons, we do not comment on individual cases. Hiding in a Church but does not change the fact that someone is not entitled to remain in the Netherlands.”
The Protestant Church in The Hague announced on Friday that Secretary of state Mark Harbers have made it clear that he would not abuse its discretion in terms of the Status of the family. The organizers of the duration of the service stressed that they will continue to make.
Interviews with the Tamrazyans are not currently possible, the organizers want to protect the family from too much pressure. One of these organizers Theo Hettema, 53, a lecturer in theology at the University of Amsterdam and Chairman of the Protestant Church in The Hague.
MIRROR ONLINE: Mr Hettema, such as the family Tamrazyan came in the Bethel chapel in The Hague?
Theo Hettema: The family had previously lived in Katwijk, a small town in the vicinity of The Hague, where they heard that they should be deported to Armenia. They then fled into the building of their Church. Although it could create some space for the Tamrazyans, but no permanent worship. After a month, the police threatened to arrest the family. So we received on the 24. October, the question is: is that possible? We thought about that. We prayed and prayed and prayed. And decided a day later to accommodate the family.
MIRROR ONLINE: you didn’t know the family before?
Hettema: The Tamrazyans didn’t know anyone in The Hague. They were very scared, as I spoke for the first Time with them. I’m not going to forget. That is, as one would put his life in the hands of a Stranger.
MIRROR ONLINE: Please explain this with the permanent worship of God. What is the law on which you rely?
Hettema: In the law it comes to Entering buildings. In article 12b says that the police do not have the access to a room that is intended for the religious exercise of, during. For us this means: there must be a non-stop worship. The law is from 1994, but it goes back to a medieval custom, according to which one can find in churches. And in turn goes back to the Old Testament, which says that people can find at the Altar or tabernacle, a temple for refuge. It is, therefore, rooted in the Christian Tradition.
Hayarpi Tamrazyan and her brother Warduhi (2. and 3. v. l.) on 30. October
MIRROR ONLINE: Played a role for you that the Tamrazyans are Christians?
Hettema: no. If it had been a Muslim family, whose case would have been so urgent, we would have acted the same.
MIRROR ONLINE: What you want to achieve with your action?
Hettema: , We want to achieve for the family that they will receive a residence permit. You can move legal in the Netherlands.
MIRROR ONLINE: You can say that you interfere with their action, the work of the Dutch authorities. How do you see that?
Hettema: , We have as a Church, the duty to act responsibly. It goes in a society is not only that the government will meet the needs of citizens, but that the citizens care for each other. If my neighbor is in Need, I must help him. We are not fighting against the government, we appeal to you.
MIRROR ONLINE: What is wrong with the decision, the family, deport them?
Hettema: For the Tamrazyans, it is not safe to Armenia to return. We have sources that do not want to give the documents that we for safety reasons, but to the media. This is the one.
MIRROR ONLINE: And the other?
Hettema: We refer to a scheme of refugee children, the procedure takes longer than five years and living in the Netherlands, to get a residence permit. This is true for this family. It is fully integrated, all speak Dutch, the children and gone to school here.
MIRROR ONLINE: What you can now.
Hettema: We try, therefore, to teach children in the Church. For Hayarpi, the studied Econometrics at the University in Tilburg, there are some Online courses. And one of your instructors has agreed to come for an examination in the Church. Of course, all this is not ideal, especially for the Youngest, Seyran. Therefore, we have asked the mayor whether to make an exception and Seyran should go to a school in the vicinity of the Church. But the mayor says it’s a Sanctuary, so the Young must remain in the building.
MIRROR ONLINE: As the daily life of the Tamrazyans in the Church?
Hettema: We have made the family an apartment in the Church, with a small living room, a small kitchen, a shower and some bedrooms. To get fresh air, you can on a balcony or in a garden on the grounds of the Church.
worship is at 6. December
MIRROR ONLINE: Who goes for the family in the supermarket to buy food?
Hettema: We have a Team of 20 coordinators, one of which is in the Church is always open to the visitors to the door or answered E-Mails. And we have about 50 Volunteers to do the cleaning or shopping. We also have a doctor for the family, a physical therapist and psychological help. The Tamrazyans are in good hands.
MIRROR ONLINE: 20 coordinators, 50 Volunteers and how many pastors have signed up for the service?
Hettema: 680. On the first weekend, pastors from The Hague came, from all over the country. Now they also come from Belgium or from Germany.
MIRROR ONLINE: Which is the moment in the almost two months she has particularly touched?
Hettema: Last week, the family invited a German Pastor and me to dinner. I asked father Tamrazyan, whether he would say the prayer. He said: My wife can pray the “Our father” in Armenian, would you be willing to do the Same in Dutch? And the German Pastor said: I’m with you on German. So we prayed the “Our father” in three languages.
MIRROR ONLINE: How is the family now?
Hettema: you have it hard. At the same time, you have a great hope: you are very convinced, that this Church asylum is their only option. You really draw a lot of strength from her Faith. One thing is clear: For them, it’s a matter of life and death.