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Janna Wessels is Assistant Professor of Migration Law at the Amsterdam Center for Migration and Refugee Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Prior to joining the ACMRL in 2020, Janna Wessels was full-time Lecturer and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Chair of Public Law and European Law at Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. From 2012 to 2016, she worked as Research Associate for an Australian Research Council funded international comparative project on Gender-related harms in Refugee law, based at University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia and University of British Columbia, Canada.

Janna Wessels received her PhD in refugee law from the Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney and the Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (joint degree). Her PhD was funded by a Quentin Bryce Law Doctoral Scholarship. In 2010 she completed a Master of Science in Forced Migration at the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University. She also holds Master-level degrees in social sciences from the University of Münster, Germany, and in European Studies from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (“Sciences Po”) Lille, France.


Janna Wessels is currently involved in a number of projects investigating the link between human rights and migration law and policy. She is particularly interested in feminist/queer theory as well as critical legal theory approaches. For her doctoral research, Janna Wessels explored the concealment controversy in refugee law doctrine. A monograph based on her dissertation was published with Cambridge University Press in 2021. Janna Wessels’ current research projects include the Mercator Foundation funded project ‘Human Rights challenges to European Migration Policy (REMAP)’, which has led to a co-authored monograph published with Hart and Nomos in 2022, and the Horizon 2020 project PROTECT – The Right to International Protection, exploring the legal implications of the UN Global Compacts on Refugees and Migrants. Janna Wessels is editor for the German Refugee Studies Blog (Fluchtforschungsblog) and co-founder of the Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration (OxMo).


  • Veni grant, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), 2022-2026

Research project: 'Countering human rights from within: Framing State interests in human rights language in migration-related jurisprudence' .

Veni is part of the Incentives Scheme. It allows outstanding researchers to conduct independent research and develop their ideas.

  • Research grant, German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG), 2022-2026

Research project: 'Who is Empowered by Strasbourg? Migrants and States before the European Court of Human Rights'

The project is part of the interdisciplinary research group "Human Rights Discourse in Migration Societies" (Menschenrechtsdiskurse in der Migrationsgesellschaft, MeDiMi). The aim of the ten PIs of MeDiMi is to determine the scope, forms and consequences of the expansion of human rights discourse in contemporary migration societies.


Janna Wessels in involved in the following courses/programmes:

  • Bachelor's Programme Law in Society (Migration theme)
  • Master's track International Migration and Refugee Law (supervision of master's theses)
  • Fundamental Rights in Europe (B2)
  • Migration Law Clinic

Prizes and Awards

  • Fellow of the ‘Young Policy Network on Migration’ (YPNM) connecting academics, policy-makers and practitioners; funded by the Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies of the University of Neuchâtel and the German Marshall Fund
  • Quentin Bryce Law Doctoral Scholarship and International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) of University of Technology Sydney
  • Fulbright Scholarship (waived)
  • Hölderlin Scholarship of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
  • Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
  • Mobility Scholarship of the German-French University
  • Toenissteiner Preis excellence award for project series: ‘Fortress Europe - Migration at Europe's External Borders’, awarded 2013 and 2015

Ancillary activities

  • Justus Liebig Universitaet Giessen | Giessen | Medewerker | 2020-02-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Ancillary activities

  • Commissie Meijers | Member | 2021-06 -01 - present
  • Justus Liebig Universitaet Giessen | Medewerker | 2020-02-01 - 2023-01-31


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