In September of this year Germany deported Nina Amoyan back to Armenia.
In 2012 the woman traveled to Europe and applied for refugee status. Germany argued that she had to go back to Armenia, a country where there is no war. German authorities entered her apartment one morning, got her out of bed, and escorted her to the airport. Nina didn’t have time to collect her belongings.
Nina says she decided to leave Armenia to flee her alcoholic husband and his beatings. She took her 16 year-old daughter and first traveled to Russia to work. “We rented a place to live. My son was conscripted into the Armenian army,” she says.
Local Chechens in Russia told her that it was possible to reach Poland via Belarus, and from there to other European countries. Nina and her daughter traveled to the Brest province of Belarus, adjacent to Poland. They entered Poland with a group of Chechens and gave herself up as a refugee.
Nina remained in a Polish refugee camp for eight months. She says she told authorities the truth. “I told them that I couldn’t lead a normal life, that I moved from one rental apartment to another, that I couldn’t pay the rent, etc.”
The monthly allowance of 70 Polish zlotys ($17) wasn’t enough for her and her daughter. Nina started to work picking apples.
Poland quickly refused to grant Nina refugee status so the woman decided to try her luck elsewhere. She worked, saved some cash, and went to Germany. They got a ride in a car and luckily weren’t stopped at the border.
Nina says they encountered discrimination in Poland but not in Germany. “In Germany, they make no distinction as to who you are or your nationality,” she says.
Nina and her daughter lived for two years in the German town of Ochtrup, near the Dutch border. The government gave them an apartment and 300 Euros monthly. It even paid the utilities.
Nina tried to work in Germany but was turned down because she didn’t have a passport or residency status. They never received any type of status.
While in Germany, Nina married off her daughter to a Kurd who had come from Iran. Nina, by the way, is a Yezidi. Nina is now a grandmother. Her granddaughter cannot be deported because he was born in Germany. Nina’s daughter cannot be deported either because the man she married was a legal resident.
Nina’s deportation was always postponed due to health reasons. She received some medical treatment.
After the recent wave of Syrians seeking residence in Germany, the government has tightened its restrictions on others seeking asylum.
Nina says she cried on the journey back to Armenia.
“I want to return to my daughter and grandchild,” she says.
Nina’s 23 year-old son has been discharged from the Armenian army on health reasons. Nina now lives in her sister’s home, with her mother and son.
Nina has no Armenian passport. It was taken from her at the Polish border. So she can’t work until she gets a new one.