Advisory Board

Ms Erika Feller - chair
Ms Erika Feller

Erika Feller

From 2014 to 2017 Erika Feller held the appointment of Vice-Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Melbourne, located in the Melbourne School of Government.  She is currently a Professorial Fellow in the School of Government, serving at the same time in various advisory capacities outside the University, including as a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the Humanitarian Advisory Group, a social enterprise working to elevate the profile of humanitarian action in Asia and the Pacific.

Erika’s experience with the statelessness portfolio spans many years at very high levels of seniority.  UNHCR is the agency in the UN system with the mandate to protect and assist stateless persons.  This is predominantly a protection function.  Erika oversaw the protection policy and delivery in UNHCR for over 13 years, first in her capacity as Director of the Division of International Protection and then during her 7 years as UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.

Prior to these respective appointments she had, among others, progressively senior positions within DIP, each of which regularly involved her in activities on behalf of stateless people.  These activities have variously included running a series of training courses on the statelessness protection framework for Government officials throughout the Baltic countries; undertaking advocacy missions to countries hosting large groups of stateless persons [for example Vietnam and Thailand, Albania and Montenegro]; visiting stateless populations and discussing possible solutions with host states [notably the Rohingyas in Myanmar]; participating in consultations on the drafting of citizenship laws in an effort to avoid statelessness [for example in Sudan, prior to the breakup of the country into two]; overseeing promotional activities like the drafting of the joint UNHCR/IPU Handbook for Parliamentarians on Statelessness; addressing UN meetings in New York on statelessness; and engagement on numerous stateless cases under UNHCR’s mandate.  Most recently she was instrumental in organising the UNHCR/Melbourne University Workshop on Researching Statelessness and Citizenship in Asia and the Pacific held at Melbourne Law School from 27-29 January 2016.

Professor Sarah Biddulph
Professor Sarah Biddulph

Professor Sarah Biddulph

Professor Sarah Biddulph joined the Asian Law Centre in 1989 and was appointed to a lectureship in the Law School in 1992. She is a graduate of Sydney University in Law and Chinese Studies and studied in Shanghai as one of the Attorney-General's representatives under an exchange agreement with the PRC Ministry of Justice. She worked as a lawyer in Shanghai with the Australian law firm Blake Dawson Waldron between 1998 and 2001 and has near-native fluency in Mandarin. Sarah's research focuses on the Chinese legal system with a particular emphasis on legal policy, law making and enforcement as they affect the administration of justice in China. Her particular areas of research are contemporary Chinese administrative law, criminal procedure, labour, comparative law, and the law regulating social and economic rights. Sarah completed her PhD in 2004, entitled The Legal Field of Policing in China: Administrative Detention and Law Reform.

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Dr Maryanne Loughry
Dr Maryanne Loughry

Dr Maryanne Loughry

Dr Maryanne Loughry is a Sister of Mercy and psychologist and has worked internationally in refugee settings. She commenced her refugee work with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in South East Asia in 1988. Her doctoral study investigated the effects of detention on unaccompanied children.

From 1996-to 2004 Dr Loughry was the Pedro Arrupe tutor at the University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre from where she conducted research, programme evaluations and humanitarian training in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, South East Asia and the UK. Presently Dr Loughry is a Research Professor at the School of Social Work, Boston College, Massachusetts and a Research Associate at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC), University of Oxford.

Dr Loughry is a member of the Australian Government's Minister of Immigration Advisory Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD) and serves on the Governing Committee of the International Catholic Migration Committee (ICMC). She is researching the psychosocial effects of climate-induced displacement in the Pacific. In 2010 Dr Loughry was made a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for service to refugees.

Mr David Manne
Mr David Manne

David Manne

David Manne is a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Refugee Legal (previously the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC)). He has worked in various capacities assisting refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years. In January 2001, he joined Refugee Legal, at the forefront of defending the rights, the dignity and the lives of asylum seekers, refugees and disadvantaged migrants.

David sat on the Board of the Refugee Council of Australia for seven years, and is currently on the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Ethics Committee, and a number of peak Government consultative bodies. He has also been appointed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Advisory Board of Eminent Persons. He has been invited to attend and present at the UN High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges on numerous occasions.

David has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Prize for Administrative and Human Rights Law, the Law Institute President’s Awards (2006 and 2011), was shortlisted for the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Medal in 2011 and been frequently named as one of Australia’s Leading Immigration Lawyers in the Australian edition of Best Lawyers.

David headed Refugee Legal’s legal teams in successfully arguing 10 out of 10 High Court challenges, including the cases of Plaintiff M61 (regarding the Government’s ‘offshore processing’ regime in Australia); Plaintiffs M70/M106 (the ‘Malaysia Solution’ case); Plaintiff M47 (challenging security assessment and indefinite detention of a refugee); Plaintiff M76 (regarding indefinite detention of a refugee on security grounds); Plaintiff M150 (challenge by a 15 year old unaccompanied refugee in relation to the Government’s attempt to bar permanent protection through a visa cap); and Plaintiff S89 (challenging a Government regulation designed to bar boat arrivals from permanent protection).

Mr Peter McMullin
Mr Peter McMullin

Mr Peter McMullin

Peter McMullin has an extensive legal and business career encompassing prominent roles in both the public and private sectors.

Peter is the current Chairman and Director of privately owned, diversified investment company McMullin Group and Special Counsel for Cornwall Stodart Lawyers, specialising in improving outcomes for the firm and its clients by facilitating meaningful connections between like-minded people.

Throughout Peter’s career, he has had a deep-seated interest in community affairs. He has consistently used his professional experience and network to further causes that he feels deeply and passionately about.

Peter’s belief is that the private sector has an important role to play in the resolution of many of our pressing social issues. He has made a significant contribution throughout his career forging positive, constructive partnerships between the private sector and governments, the not-for-profit sector and educational institutions.

Ms Grainne O'Hara
Ms Grainne O'Hara

Ms Grainne O'Hara

Ms O’Hara is an Irish national. She holds a law degree from Trinity College Dublin and was called to the Bar in Ireland in 1992. After two years of service with the Free Legal Advice Centres in Dublin, she opted for an international career and joined UNHCR in 1994 as a United Nations Volunteer.

In 24 years with UNHCR she has served in a variety of functions and operational settings spanning a wide range of protection-related responsibilities. Her postings have included: Mexico; the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Kosovo; Burundi; Sudan; the Caribbean; the United States of America; Afghanistan; Syria; Iraq and Jordan.

Grainne took up her current assignment as Director of the Division of International Protection on 1 June 2018 following a preceding stint as Deputy Director at UNHCR’s Office in New York.

Josef Szwarc
Josef Szwarc

Josef Szwarc

Josef Szwarc is General Manager, Community and Sector Development and the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture.  He previously worked in governmental and non-governmental agencies, in Australia and the UK, on a variety of social policy and human rights issues.