Our People

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law is pleased to announce four steps in the next stage of our development:

  • Program research areas as the main focus or our research effort
  • New management structure
  • Appointment of Dr Ronli Sifris as deputy director
  • Expanded Membership and Visiting Fellow program

Program research areas

The Castan Centre has prided itself on a research agenda which follows the broad direction of creating a more just world where human rights are respected, allowing people to pursue their lives in dignity and freedom.

As we look to the future, the main research effort of the Centre will be organised around a limited number of program research areas that will enhance our capacity for high quality collaborative research.  We also anticipate that research collaborations will extend to other centres and partners, both within and beyond Monash University will increase.

The Castan Centre is currently engaged in a process for determining what these program research areas will be and will announce these in due course.

Management structure

The Castan Centre has recently developed a new compact management structure.  Under this structure, there will be a Director, a Deputy-Director and a Management Committee.  The most significant group within the Centre will continue to be its researchers.

Appointment of Dr Ronli Sifris as Deputy Director

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Ronli Sifris as the Deputy Director of the Centre.  Ronli is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty and was a deputy director of the Centre under the previous model.  She is the Co-convenor of the Law, Health and Wellbeing Group.  She completed a LLM as a Hauser Scholar at NYU School of Law and a PhD at Monash University.  Her research focusses upon the intersection of reproductive health and rights at both the domestic and international levels.  We warmly welcome Ronli to her new role, from 1 July 2020.

Dr Sifris steps in for Associate Professor Julie Debeljak, who was a deputy director and also the Interim Director.  After nearly twenty years of active service in founding and growing the Centre, Julie will continue to be actively be involved in the life of the Centre.  We acknowledge with gratitude the enormous contribution that Julie has made to the Centre and look forward to her continuing contribution.

We would also like to recognise the outstanding contribution of the many other deputy directors that the Centre has had over the years under the previous model, including the immediate past deputy directors: (besides Julie and Ronli) Associate Professor Melissa Castan, Associate Professor Maria O’Sullivan, Dr Joanna Kyriakakis, Professor Paula Gerber and Dr Tania Penovic.  We value and appreciate their role in the leadership of the Centre and look forward to the continuation of their work under the new model.

Expanded Membership and Visiting Fellow Program

Human rights is a multidisciplinary area.  As such, the Centre wants to encourage collaborative research between our researchers and researchers in human rights in other faculties and disciplines.   Therefore, the Centre will be opening up its membership to researchers in human rights from across the University, whatever their discipline.

In a related development, the Centre will be introducing a Visiting Fellow program which will be available to researchers from other faculties at Monash or from other universities who are collaborating with the Centre on a project or projects for a specified period.

Professor the Hon Kevin H Bell AM QC

DirectorDeputy Director

Professor the Hon Kevin H Bell AM QC

Dr Ronli Sifris

Academic Members

Assoc Prof Julie Debeljak

Assoc Prof Melissa Castan

Assoc Prof Maria O'Sullivan

Dr Joanna Kyriakakis

Professor Paula Gerber

Dr Tania Penovic

Assoc Prof Heli AskolaProfessor the Hon. Pamela Tate SC
Dr Stephen GrayDr Richard Joyce

Dr Colin Campbell

Dr Katie O'Bryan
Dr Nadirsyah HosenProfessor Jean AllainAssoc Prof Caroline HenckelsAssoc Prof Luke Beck
Dr Yee-Fui NgDr Amber TanProfessor Moira PatersonAssoc Prof Normann Witzleb
Assoc Prof  Dominique AllenProfessor Marilyn PittardAssoc Prof Gerry NagtzaamLiam Elphick

Prof. Daniel Fitzpatrick

Dr Gina Bekker  

Centres Administration Officer
Janice Hugo

Research and Policy Assistant
Karin Frode

Policy Manager
Andrea Olivares-Jones

Indigenous Group of Learning Coordinator
Michelle Donovan


Advisory Board

PhD Affiliates