Forced Return of Embedded Asylum-Seeking Families with Children to Armenia from a Children’s Rights Perspective: A Qualitative Study of Their Developmental Needs and Best Interests

Elianne Zijlstra*, Grytsje Bonhage - Talsma, Wendy Post, Margrite Kalverboer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Asylum-seeking families with children can be forced to return to their country of origin after staying several years in the Netherlands. The best interests of the child should play a role in return decisions. It is unclear whether the development of these children is threatened after forced return. This study aims to gain insight from a children’s rights perspective into the situation of children who were forced to return to Armenia. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews with 17 children and their parents. Results show that children are negative about their lives in Armenia after forced return. They experience psychosocial, identity and physical problems. Access to basic needs, care and education is limited. The parents’ emotional availability decreases. From a children’s rights perspective, it can be concluded that the decision to return children in this study did not meet their developmental needs, their best interests and children’s rights are contravened.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)575-601
Number of pages27
JournalInternational journal of childrens rights
Issue number2
Early online date6-Jun-2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2022


  • asylum-seeldng children
  • forced return
  • best interests of the child
  • children's rights
  • Armenia
  • LAW

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