JRS Europe welcomes new policy and advocacy officer
08 June 2017
Brussels, 8 June 2017 – JRS Europe is pleased to welcome Claudia Bonamini as our new Policy and Advocacy Officer.
Bonamini joins JRS Europe from Flemish Refugee Action where she advocated for refugees on the Belgian national level for almost nine years. However, she has always been concerned with EU asylum policy and how it has shaped national responses to refugees.
“I always wanted to work on the EU asylum policy and knew JRS Europe was one of the key actors in this field. That’s why I’m very happy to join the team here and build new advocacy strategies together with the JRS national offices,” says Bonamini.
An Italian citizen, who speaks fluent Dutch, English and French besides her native tongue, Bonamini holds a Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation from The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) based in Venice. She also holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Padua.
Speaking about her ambitions for her new role at JRS Europe, Bonamini says:
“For me it’s clear there is huge potential in the JRS network. This is the added value – there are people with feet on the ground working with refugees every day.
Before I became a policy officer, I also worked in a reception centre for asylum seekers. So I know that it’s difficult, but I’d ask colleagues on the ground to try to stop five minutes and think about what you’re seeing. Make an abstraction and report what you see and what you do.
Advocacy in Brussels might not help you with the person in front of you, but it will hopefully help you with a person in the same situation next year.”
Asked about what style of advocacy she would pursue, Bonamini replies:
“Classical advocacy towards policymakers is becoming more and more difficult as the political pressure to ‘manage migration’ in Europe is huge. That’s why we also need to mobilise public opinion in support of refugees. If we can get enough people to speak out, that’s when policymakers listen.”
Even in her spare time, Bonamini supports the cause she cares most about.
“You might be surprised, but I’ve run the Brussels 20km for the past six years to fundraise for refugees.”
Advocacy in Brussels might not help you with the person in front of you, but it will hopefully help you with a person in the same situation next year.