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The Childhood, Law & Policy Network (CLPN)

Dr Ellen Desmet


Associate professor, Migration Law Research Group / Human Rights Centre / CESSMIR, Ghent University, Belgium


Ellen Desmet is an Associate Professor of Migration Law at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of Ghent University. She founded and heads the Migration Law Research Group (MigrLaw). Her research is situated at the intersection of migration law, children’s and human rights and legal anthropology. Ellen Desmet holds a PhD in Law from the KU Leuven (2010) and previously held positions at the Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre, the Law and Development Research Group of the University of Antwerp and the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University.



Brittle, Ruth and Desmet, Ellen (2020). ‘Thirty years of research on children’s rights in the context of migration: towards increased visibility and recognition of some children, but not all’, The International Journal of Children’s Rights, vol. 28, no. 1, 36-65.

Desmet, Ellen (2020). ‘Appellate asylum and migration proceedings in Belgium: challenges for the best interests of the child principle and unity of jurisprudence’, in Mark Klaassen, Stephanie Rap, Peter Rodrigues & Ton Liefaard (eds), Safeguarding children’s rights in immigration law, Intersentia, 195-216.

Desmet, Ellen (2019). ‘Children’s rights and the environmental dimension of sustainable development’, in Claire Fenton-Glynn (ed.), Children’s Rights and Sustainable Development, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 192-215.

Desmet, Ellen (2018). ‘Rural-Urban Migration and Education in China: Unraveling Responses to Injurious Experiences’ in Tine Destrooper & Sally Engle Merry (eds), Human Rights Transformation in Practice, University of Pennsylvania Press, 183-207.

Desmet, Ellen (2017). ‘Inspiration for children’s human rights from indigenous peoples’ rights’, in Eva Brems, Ellen Desmet & Wouter Vandenhole (eds), Children’s Rights Law in the Global Human Rights Landscape: Isolation, inspiration, integration?, Routledge, 127-145.

Corradi, Giselle & Desmet, Ellen (2015). ‘A review of literature on children’s rights and legal pluralism’, The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, vol. 47, no. 2, 226-245.

Desmet, Ellen, Op de Beeck, Hanne, & Vandenhole, Wouter (2015). ‘Walking a tightrope. Evaluating the Child and Youth Impact Report in Flanders’, The International Journal of Children’s Rights, vol. 23, no. 1, 78-108.

Desmet, Ellen & Aylwin, José (2015). ‘Natural resource exploitation and children’s rights’, in Wouter Vandenhole, Ellen Desmet, Didier Reynaert & Sara Lembrechts (eds), Routledge International Handbook of Children’s Rights Studies, Routledge, 1-22.

Desmet, Ellen (2014). ‘Analysing Users’ Trajectories in Human Rights: A Conceptual Exploration and Research Agenda’, Human Rights & International Legal Discourse, vol. 8, no. 2, 121-141.

Desmet, Ellen & Op de Beeck, Hanne (2014). ‘Strategic decisions in setting up child rights impact assessments’, Revue générale de Droit, vol. 44, 125-151.

Desmet, Ellen (2012). ‘Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child for ‘youth’: who and how?’, The International Journal of Children’s Rights, vol. 20, no. 1, 3-23.


Migration law – children’s rights – human rights – legal anthropology
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