2020 applicants

Dr Elena Abrusci

Senior Research Officer
School of Law - Human Rights Centre
Dr Elena Abrusci



Elena Abrusci is a Senior Research Officer at the Human Rights Centre and School of Law, University of Essex. She currently works on the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project (HRBDT), focusing on the impact of new technologies on human rights and the challenges to regulation. Elena holds a PhD in Law from the University of Nottingham where she investigated issues related to fragmentation and convergence in international human rights law. Her research focuses on regional and international human rights bodies’ adjudication, composition and behavior. She has published in leading human rights journals on issues related to indigenous rights and sexual orientation. Besides that, Elena has been working in the field of modern slavery and human trafficking. She acted as a consultant for the WHO on migrant women’s exploitation and human trafficking and assisted Walk Free Foundation in the preparation of the Global Slavery Index (2016 and 2018 editions). In her capacity as Research Associate at the Rights Lab of the University of Nottingham, she provided consultancies to public institutions, NGOs and private companies on monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment for anti-slavery interventions and published academic reports, practitioner-oriented guides, and journal articles. Previously, Elena worked for the Human Rights Commission for Sierra Leone and for the Italian Mission at the International Organizations in Geneva. She holds a Bachelor in Politics and International Relations from the University of Pisa (Italy), a Master in International Relations from the University of Florence (Italy), an Advanced Graduate Diploma in Politics from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa (Italy). She has also been a visiting student and researcher at Sciences Po-Paris (France), Beijing University (China) and the Sao Paolo State University-UNESP (Brazil).


  • PhD in Law University of Nottingham, (2018)

  • Advanced Graduate Diploma in Political Science Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies- Pisa, (2015)

  • Master in International Relations University of Florence, (2014)

  • Bachelor in Politics and International Relations University of Pisa, (2012)

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • International Human Rights Law: Law and Practice (LW901)


Journal articles (4)

Abrusci, E. and Pulvirenti, R., (2019). Prosecuting Trafficking Crimes for Sexual Exploitation in Times of Conflict: Challenges and Perspective. Journal of Trafficking and Human Exploitation. 3 (1), 97-97

Abrusci, E., (2019). The European Court of Human Rights and Its Contribution to Judicial Fragmentation in International Human Rights Law. Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting. 113, 92-95

Abrusci, E., (2017). Judicial fragmentation on indigenous property rights: causes, consequences and solutions. The International Journal of Human Rights. 21 (5), 550-564

Abrusci, E., (2017). A Tale of Convergence? Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation in Regional Human Rights Bodies and the Human Rights Committee. Nordic Journal of Human Rights. 35 (3), 240-257

Book chapters (2)

Abrusci, E., Coco, A., de Souza Dias, T., Guinchard, A. and Rau, S., (2020). Big Data and Technology: A Discussion. In: Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. Editors: Ferstman, C. and Fagan, A., . University of Essex. 267- 268. 978-1-5272-6632-2

Abrusci, E., Dubberley, S. and McGregor, L., (2020). An ‘Infodemic’ in the Pandemic: Human Rights and Covid-19 Misinformation. In: Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. Editors: Ferstman, C. and Fagan, A., . University of Essex. 287- 296. 978-1-5272-6632-2

Other (1)

Abrusci, E., (2019).The IACtHR Advisory Opinion: one step forward or two steps back for LGBTI rights in Costa Rica?. EJIL Talk!


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