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Denise Venturi

Keywords: Gender, SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics), vulnerability, RSD, European and transnational courts

Working Group(s): Working Group on Feminist Theory, Refugees and Displacement; Working Group on Courts and Refugee Protection


Denise Venturi is PhD Candidate in International Law at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Her research focuses on the implications of the concept of vulnerability in decision-making with reference to asylum cases based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2021 she was Teaching Assistant in Public International law at the University of Bologna, Italy, and in 2016  she was a Visiting Researcher at the University of Liverpool, UK. Currently, she is a Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle-Saale, Germany). Besides her academic engagement, Denise has been working for several years with UNHCR in various protection roles, including as Asylum Liaison Officer with the UNHCR Liaison Office to the EU Asylum Agency and on capacity building on asylum claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity with UNHCR Italy. With UNHCR, she has also worked on refugee status determination, as well as on legal and policy analysis and judicial engagement. Previously, she worked on strategic litigation as Legal Officer at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), as researcher in academia and NGOs on refugee and migration issues, and as lawyer specialized on migration and criminal law in Italy. Denise holds a European Master's Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from the Global Campus of Human Rights, as well as a Master's Degree in Law and a Postgraduate Degree in Asylum and Immigration Law from the University of Florence (Italy). Her varied publication record includes, among others, an analysis of the concept of vulnerability by the ECtHR in relation to health-related migration cases (2022,  Journal of Immigration, Asylum & Nationality Law), an edited volume on LGBTIQ+ refugees’ experiences in countries of origin, transit and asylum (2019, Springer), a paper unraveling the links between counter terrorism and Refugee Law (2018, European Society of International law), and an article on age assessment as an instrument of border control (2015, European Yearbook of Human Rights). Denise has also authored blog posts on the ECtHR’s approach to vulnerability vis-à-vis migrants and refugees, and to LGBTIQ+ asylum-seekers