• E-postMaja.Janmyr@uib.no
  • Telefon+47 55 58 96 86
  • Besøksadresse
    Magnus Lagabøtesplass 1
  • Postadresse
    Postboks 7806
    5020 BERGEN

I am a post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Bergen. My research interests include issues of international law – in particular socio-legal and critical approaches to international refugee- and human rights law. I situate my work within both the refugee advocacy community and the critical legal studies movement.

I am currently (2015-2019) principle investigator/post-doc. on a research project dealing with refugee rights in the Middle East, financed by the Research Council of Norway’s FRIPRO-initiative (project no. 240441). I also have a minor role in an inter-disciplinary research project focusing on migration management, return policies and readmission agreements (RCN grant no. 247622). I have conducted previous research on this topic in the Norwegian and European context (2012-2015, RCN grant no. 207262).

My PhD research (2008-2012), funded by RCN grant no. 187421/S20, concerned the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) human rights obligations in refugee camps and avenues for accountability under the international laws of responsibility. This research entailed a socio-legal field study in Uganda.

I am particularly interested in the principle of the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum, which is a recurring theme in both my PhD-research and in my current post-doctoral work. I am interested in exploring the relationship between this principle, generally perceived by the international refugee regime as a protective norm, and ideas of refugee agency and self-determination. An important part of this is to understand how refugee agency and autonomy is being impaired by the project of humanitarianism, of which I consider refugee law to be an integral part. Related to this, and as one of the most poignant manifestations of humanitarianism, I have also critically explored “the refugee camp”, focusing here on the legality and legitimacy of these spaces.

More broadly, I am concerned with the question of what is the role of international law when it comes to, on the one hand, giving voice to, and on the other, repressing the voices of, marginalized people on the move. In answering this I seek to engage in questions such as: How do actors and social movements on the ground engage in international law? What discourses are furthered and how do human rights discourses interact or conflict with other competing discourses? I have explored this theme most recently in the Egyptian context in relation to Nubian mobilization of recognition of indigeneity as well as return to ancestral lands.

I am a research associate at the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo (AUC), as well as at the Centre on Law and Social Transformation, in Bergen, Norway.


I am a regular contributor to international and national media outlets. Internationally, my research has most recently been featured in The Economist. Nationally, I participate in outlets such as Aftenposten (print), NRK (radio & TV), TV2 (TV), Bergens Tidende (print). 

For a detailed list of all media contributions, see Cristin.

I supervise PhD and Masters students within the fields of public international law, human rights and refugee law. I have also been involved in the following courses:

  •  ‘War, Violence and Health’ (INTH340), Center for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
  • ‘Introduction to Public International Law’ (Folkrätt 30 hp), College of Defence, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • ‘Human Rights and the Welfare State’ (JUS250-2-C), Faculty of Law, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
  • ‘Human Rights Law’ (JUS276-2-A), Faculty of Law, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
  • ‘Rettstat og menneskerettigheter’ (rule of law and human rights) (JUS135), Faculty of Law, University of  Bergen, Bergen, Norway.


  Peer-reviewed monographs and edited collections

  1. Janmyr, Maja. Protecting Civilians in Refugee Camps: Unwilling and Unable States, UNHCR and International Responsibility Martinus Nijhoff Publishers/Brill (2014). 
  2. Janmyr, Maja and Knudsen, Are. "Dossier on Humanitarianism in Refugee Camps" in 7 Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 3 (2016).


Peer-reviewed journal articles

  1. Janmyr, Maja and Mourad, Lama. "Modes of Ordering: Labelling, Classification and Categorization in Lebanon's Refugee Response" Journal of Refugee Studies (accepted for publication, 2017)

  2. Janmyr, Maja. "UNHCR and the Syrian refugee response: negotiating status and registration in Lebanon" International Journal of Human Rights (2017).

  3. Janmyr, Maja. "No Country of Asylum: 'Legitimizing' Lebanon’s Rejection of the 1951 Refugee Convention" 29 International Journal of Refugee Law 3 (2017).

  4. Janmyr, Maja and Knudsen, Are. "Introduction: Hybrid Spaces" 7 Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 3 (2016).

  5. Janmyr, Maja. "Spaces of Legal Ambiguity: Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Power" 7 Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 3 (2016).

  6. Janmyr, Maja. "Precarity in Exile: The Legal Status of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon" 35 Refugee Survey Quarterly 4 (2016).

  7. Janmyr, Maja. "Human Rights and Nubian Mobilisation in Egypt: towards recognition of indigeneity" Third World Quarterly (2016).

  8. Janmyr, Maja. "Nubians in Contemporary Egypt: mobilizing return to ancestral lands" 25 Middle East Critique 2 (2016).

  9. Janmyr, Maja. "The Effectiveness of Norway's Readmission Agreements with Iraq and Ethiopia" International Migration (2015).

  10. Janmyr, Maja. "Att återvända till fäderneslandet - hur den nubiska drömmen kan bli en rättighet i det nya Egypten" Babylon: Nordic Journal of Middle East Studies 1-2 (2015). 

  11. Janmyr, Maja. "Norway's Readmission Agreements: Spellbound by European Union Policies or Free Spirits on the International Field?” 16 European Journal of Migration and Law 2 (2014). 

  12. Janmyr, Maja. "Recruiting Internally Displaced Persons into Civil Militias: the Case of Northern Uganda" 32 Nordic Journal of Human Rights 3 (2014). 

  13. Janmyr, Maja. "Attributing Wrongful Conduct of Implementing Partners to UNHCR: International Responsibility and Human Rights Violations in Refugee Camps" 5 Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies 1 (2014).


Peer-reviewed book chapters

  1. Janmyr, Maja. "Indigeneity vs Development: Nubian rights mobilisation in Egypt" in Corradi G., De Feyter K., Desmet E. and Vanhees K., Critical indigenous rights studies: New directions in indigenous rights research. Routledge (forthcoming 2018).
  2. Janmyr, Maja. "Military Recruitment of Sudanese Refugee Men in Uganda: a Tale of National Patronage and International Failure" in Buckley-Zistel S. and Krause U., Gender, Violence, Refugees. Berghahn Books (2017). 
  3. Janmyr, Maja. "Advancing UNHCR Accountability through the Law of International Responsibility" in Sandvik K. & Jacobsen K., UNHCR and the Struggle for Accountability: Technology, Law and Results-Based Management. Routledge (2016).
  4. Janmyr, Maja. “Refugees and Peace” in Bailliet C. & Larsen K.M., Promoting Peace through International Law. Oxford University Press (2015).
  5. Janmyr, Maja. “Revisiting the Civilian and Humanitarian Character of Refugee Camps" in Durieux J.F. & Cantor D., Refuge from Inhumanity: war refugees and international humanitarian law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (Brill)(2014).


Book Reviews

  1. ”Eyal Weizman: The Least of All Possible Evils. Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza”, Babylon. Tidsskrift om Midtøsten og Nord-Afrika (2012).

Publications in national current research information system (CRIStin)

2015-2019 Political Rights in Precarious Realities: A Socio-Legal Exploration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan (Research Council of Norway, FRIPRO-program)

  • Principal Investigator

2015-2019 Transnationalism from above and below: Migration management and how migrants manage (MIGMA) (Research Council of Norway, VAM-program)

  • Co-investigator

2012-2014 Migration to Norway: Flows and Regulations (Research Council of Norway, VAM-program)

  • Co-investigator

2008-2012 Protection of Civilians within Refugee Camp Environments (Research Council of Norway, IMER-program)

  • Co-investigator