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High Commissioner's Welcome
Welcome to the website of the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka. I hope you will find this website useful and informative.
The site includes a wide range of information about the High Commission’s role and responsibilities in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Australia has been a close friend and partner of Sri Lanka since before independence. We have a diverse and strong relationship across many areas. Australia is also a major donor of development assistance to Sri Lanka.
I recommend that all Australian citizens and permanent residents in Sri Lanka and the Maldives register with the Australian Government through Smartraveller at www.smartraveller.gov.au. Registering is simple and beneficial. It means we can find you in an emergency, and we can also relay important information to you about elections, new travel advisories and other developments.
Registration must be self-motivated. There is no automatic registration when you get a passport, a visa or a job in Sri Lanka or Maldives. Long term residents should regularly check to see if their registration is current.
I also recommend that all Australians travelling or living in Sri Lanka or the Maldives regularly check the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Advice. This Advice can be found through the link on our site under 'Services for Australians'.
Conviction of Maldivian Former President
The Australian Government is concerned by the sentencing of former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years imprisonment on 13 March 2015. Australia has been following Mr Nasheed’s case closely since his arrest on 22 February. Australia’s High Commissioner to the Maldives raised concerns about the application of due legal process directly with the Maldivian Government and continues to monitor the situation closely.
Empowering Women: More Work To Be Done - Natasha Stott Despoja AM, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls
This year is a milestone International Women’s Day and a special year for the international women’s movement.
Twenty years ago, an unprecedented 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists arrived in Beijing for the opening of the Fourth World Conference on Women. They had a clear purpose: gender equality and the empowerment of women, everywhere.
They produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which was adopted unanimously by 189 countries. It was a high point for international cooperation to secure commitments in language and intention for women’s rights.
Statement on the Maldives
The Australian Government notes with concern the recent civil unrest in the Maldives following the arrest on 22 February 2015 of the opposition figure and former President Mohamed Nasheed. Australia encourages all parties to exercise restraint, act in accordance with the rule of law and resolve differences peacefully.
PEOPLE SMUGGLING VENTURE RETURNED TO SRI LANKA
The Australian and Sri Lankan Governments continue to work closely to disrupt the dangerous and illegal activity of people smuggling.
On Monday, 9 February 2015 a people smuggling venture carrying four Sri Lankan nationals attempting to travel illegally by boat to Australia was successfully disrupted. The people were returned to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, 17 February 2015.
OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS DELIVERS SIX MONTHS WITHOUT A SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE SMUGGLING VENTURE
Another six months has passed without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia. More than a year ago on 19 December 2013, Operation Sovereign Borders began turning back boats seeking to enter Australia illegally – delivering on a key Coalition election promise.
Up until today 15 ventures with 429 potential illegal immigrants aboard have been intercepted and returned. In 2014 only one people smuggling venture made it to Australia, with all of its passengers transferred to Nauru.
Australian High Commission marks Australia Day
Australia’s High Commissioner Her Excellency Robyn Mudie hosted a reception on 28 January to celebrate Australia Day. The Hon John Amaratunga, Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs, represented the Sri Lankan government at the event. The event was attended by over 650 people and featured an extensive menu showcasing Australian food and wines.
Her Excellency Robyn Mudie, Australian High Commissioner with Hon John Amaratunga, Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs at the Australia Day function held at the High Commissioner’s Residence on 28 January 2015
Australian High Commissioner congratulates Australia Awards recipients
The Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Robyn Mudie, hosted a reception in Male’ on 22 December to congratulate 33 Maldivians who have been offered Australia Awards to study at Australian universities in 2015.
“Australia has been a long term partner in supporting Maldivians to help achieve the national development goals of the Maldives”, said Ms Mudie.
The 33 Australia Awards are valued at approximately AUD 6 million, representing a significant component of Australia’s development assistance program with the Maldives.
The Australian Government invests in education as a force for political and economic reform and good governance.Read full media release
OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS PRESS CONFERENCE
On 17 December, Australian High Commissioner, HE Ms Robyn Mudie, addressed a press conference in Colombo to assure Sri Lankans that the Australian Government’s policy against maritime people smuggling had not changed. Ms Mudie said that, since the introduction of Australia’s toughest ever border protection policy, Operation Sovereign Borders, in 2013, every Sri Lankan boat that had attempted to go to Australia illegally had failed. Ms Mudie and Mr Jose Alvarez, Minister-Counsellor (Immigration) and Regional Director South Asia Region (Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection), responded to questions from journalists. Ms Mudie concluded by reiterating that Sri Lankans should think again before wasting their money or risking their lives based on the lies of people smugglers.
Australian High Commission commemorates the tenth Anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami
This month marks ten years since the Indian Ocean Tsunami struck the coastal areas of eleven countries around the Indian Ocean rim.
At an event held to commemorate the anniversary, Australian High Commissioner, Robyn Mudie, said “The Tsunami was a devastating event which had a devastating impact on the lives of millions, including many Sri Lankans from the south coast to the northern tip of the island”.
On the morning of 26 December 2004, a massive earthquake off the coast of Sumatra caused the world’s worst natural disaster in 40 years. The human and physical impact was unprecedented.
More than 35,000 Sri Lankans lost their lives and more than 400,000 coastal villagers were displaced. The tsunami also greatly affected economic activity, particularly fishing, hospitality, small industry, banking, domestic trade and transport.
PEOPLE SMUGGLING VENTURE RETURNED TO SRI LANKA
The Australian Government continues its close cooperation with the Sri Lankan Government to disrupt people smuggling ventures departing Sri Lanka.
On 26 November 2014 a people smuggling venture carrying 38 Sri Lankan nationals attempting to travel illegally by boat to Australia was successfully disrupted.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we are reminded of the horrific acts of violence against women that take place every day – in Australia and across the Pacific, in the
countries of the Indian Ocean Rim and beyond.
Violence against women persists as one of the most heinous and prevalent human rights abuses.
While there is no shortage of good work being done in every country, the statistics remain deeply disturbing, and the impact of violence on individual’s lives and on the well-being of our communities is devastating. Read more..
The Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Robyn Mudie, hosted a reception on 20 November to congratulate 35 Sri Lankans who have been offered Australia Awards to undertake post-graduate degrees at Australian universities in 2015.
“Australia has been a long term partner in supporting Sri Lankans to help achieve the national development goals of the country”, said Ms Mudie.
The 35 Australia Awards are valued at approximately AUD 6 million, representing a significant component of the Australian aid program to Sri Lanka. Read more.
Asylum seekers who registered with UNHCR in Indonesia on or after 1 July 2014 will no longer be eligible for resettlement in Australia, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon. Scott Morrison said today.
Minister Morrison said the change was part of the Government’s ongoing work in the region to strip people smugglers of a product to sell to vulnerable men, women and children.
“While nine of ten months of 2014 have passed without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia, we know smugglers continue to encourage asylum seekers to travel illegally to Indonesia for the purpose of seeking resettlement in Australia,” Minister Morrison said.
Australia will continue to resettle some refugees who registered with UNHCR in Indonesia before 1 July 2014, however there will not be as many places allocated, meaning the waiting period in Indonesia to be resettled in Australia will be much longer.
Minister Morrison said the Government does not support asylum seekers travelling illegally to transit countries in search of more favourable resettlement destinations. Read more..
On the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie said “Today we commemorate 25 years since the world committed to upholding children’s rights. The convention remains important in ensuring every girl and boy can live a healthy life with access to education and without fear of violence, abuse or neglect”.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has four guiding principles: non-discrimination, best interests of the child, right to life, survival and development, and respect for the views of the child.
“Australia takes its obligations under the Convention very seriously, and has made considerable progress in protecting and promoting children’s rights”, Ms Mudie said. Read more..
2014 Victorian State Elections - UPDATE
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Australian High Commission Colombo will now be open for early voting in person from Thursday 20 November to Friday 28 November 2014 between 1000hrs and 1600hrs (weekdays only).
Please visit http://www.vec.vic.gov.au/ for further details about voting in person or applying for a postal vote
Australian Student Visa Information Session on 15 November 2014 in Kandy
The Australian High Commission will be conducting a student visa information session in Kandy on Saturday, 15 November 2014 from 10am to 12pm at the Suisse Hotel, Kandy.
This information session will assist students to better understand the wide range of further study options available to them in Australia, and will provide guidance to them on how to access these opportunities and how to successfully navigate the student visa process. Read more..
This Remembrance Day, Tuesday 11 November, Australians across the nation and around the world will pause at 11am for one minute’s silence to remember the sacrifice of those who have served in our country’s uniform during times of war and conflict.
We remember and pay special tribute to the more than 102,000 Australians who have lost their lives in war, in conflict and on peacekeeping operations. We think, too, of those who returned from the battle fields carrying the scars of their service and the families who care for them.
Our current serving members who are away from their loved ones, are also in our thoughts and we thank them for their service.
2014 Victorian State Elections
The Australian High Commission Colombo will be open for early voting in person from 19 November to 28 November 2014 between 1000hrs and 1600hrs (weekdays only).
Please visit http://www.vec.vic.gov.au/ for further details about voting in person or applying for a postal vote.
Critically-acclaimed Australian film, “Charlie’s Country”, to be screened in Kandy
The Australian High Commission presents the critically-acclaimed Australian film, “Charlie’s Country”, which will be screened at 6.30pm on Thursday, 13 November at the Arts Faculty Theatre of the University of Peradeniya, Kandy. “Charlie’s Country” was first screened in Sri Lanka during the 2014 Colombo International Film Festival.
“Charlie’s Country” stars renowned Australian Indigenous actor, David Gulpilil, who won the Best Actor Award for the film at the Cannes Film Festival. It is directed by Rolf de Heer, of “Ten Canoes” fame. The film tells the story of Charlie, an Aboriginal warrior past his prime, who is navigating the changes to his community’s traditional way of life. He rejects the new way of life and heads into the wild to live in the old way, not realising how much life has changed.
The Australian High Commission is pleased to collaborate with the Arts Faculty of the Peradeniya University to bring another acclaimed Australian film to university students and the community in and around Kandy. The High Commission previously screened the award-winning film “Bran Nue Dae” in 2012 at the Peradeniya University.
Entrance is free and is on a first-come first-served basis. Please call the Australian High Commission on 011 2463200 or 071 8733 760 for more information.
HE Robyn Mudie, Australian High Commissioner, attends official inauguration of Swinburne Campus in Sri Lanka
Her Excellency Robyn Mudie, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, attended the official inauguration of Swinburne Campus in Sri Lanka, which was inaugurated by Hon S B Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education on 21 October. The inauguration was also attended by several government officials and delegates from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia and key education sector stakeholders.
The collaboration between Nawaloka College of Higher Studies, Sri Lanka and Swinburne College, Australia will provide a study opportunity for aspiring students of Sri Lanka to start their Foundation programs leading up to a Diploma in IT, Business and Engineering in Sri Lanka and complete their bachelor degree at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. Read more..
Sri Lankan Sports Journalist Joins Sports Diplomacy International Media Visit to Australia
Mr Daminda Wijesuriya, Sri Lankan newspaper Lankadeepa’s Sports Editor, is one of eight international journalists participating in a Sports Diplomacy International Media Visit to Australia from 20-26 October 2014. The program provides the journalists with comprehensive exposure to Australia’s preparations for the upcoming Cricket World Cup, Commonwealth Games and the Netball World Cup. During the visit, the journalists are meeting relevant officials handling these major sporting events, and learning about Australia’s investment in sports and Australia’s solid foundation as a sporting nation. More..
Mr Daminda Wijesuriya (far right) and other journalists with the Australian Women’s Cricket Team
Australia is helping to develop Sri Lanka’s dairy industry
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) of Australia signed a loan agreement for the second phase of the Dairy Development Project on Friday 10th October 2014. The development project links Australia’s agricultural resources and expertise with the Sri Lankan Government’s desire to increase the nation’s fresh milk supply, reduce reliance on powdered milk imports and, ultimately, become a self-sufficient dairy producer.
Sri Lanka’s National Livestock Development Board, which oversees the project, engaged Australia’s Wellard Rural Exports to supply dairy cattle, infrastructure, equipment and management with a view to increasing the size of the national dairy herd and raising the daily average yield from four litres of milk per cow to a number nearer Australia’s 26 litres Continue reading..
Australia Grants Rs 10 million for Sanitation Facilities in Resettled Villages in Mannar
The Australian High Commission recently handed over 44 newly built toilets to beneficiaries in resettled villages in Manthai West, Mannar. The High Commission has to-date built 160 toilets in Manthai West for resettled villages in both Tamil and Muslim areas at a total value of Rs 10 million.
The project was part of the Direct Aid Program, the Australian Government’s small grants scheme, which provides fast, high-impact development needs to grass roots communities. Read more..
Increasing Awareness of Drowning prevention and Water Safety
The Life Saving Association of Victoria, Australia, together with the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka has initiated a campaign to raise awareness of water safety to prevent drowning. The initiative is supported by the World Health Organization.
In Sri Lanka more than 1,200 people drown in each year. With the help from Australian lifesavers and drowning prevention specialists, there is a goal to halve this number by 2017.
Australian High Commissioner HE Robyn Mudie was the Chief Guest at a 1 October event held at Water’s Edge, Battaramulla, by the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka to introduce the inaugural Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Report for Sri Lanka, to be launched later this year.
High Commissioner meets Rotary representatives
On 1 October, Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie met representatives of the Rotary Australia World Community Service, who were visiting Sri Lanka and Maldives to monitor and evaluate a number of projects supported by Rotary.
In Sri Lanka Rotary is currently supporting projects in Anuradhapura (construction of post operative care facilities for renal patients), Batticaloa (support for the upgrade of the Emergency Trauma Centre at Batticaloa Hospital) and Biyagama (IT Education for Destitute Children).
In Maldives, Rotary is providing ongoing support to two water desalination projects located in Keyadhoo and Dhigura islands. They are also exploring opportunities to support women’s empowerment through community based projects in the coming years.
High Commissioner Mudie expressed her appreciation for the important humanitarian work being carried out by Rotary in Sri Lanka which was supporting the continuing process of reconstruction and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, as well as its ongoing development. The High Commissioner said that the work being carried out by Rotary was also contributing to the strong relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka.
Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie with members of the Rotary World Community Service, South Australia district. From left, Mr Geoff Ellershaw, Chairman-National Marketing & Promotions RAWCS , Mr Gehan Siribaddana, Past District Governor, Rotary District 3220 – Sri Lanka and Maldives, Ms Roberta Waterman, Past District Governor, Rotary District 9520 South Australia, Mrs Joy Will and Mr Don Will Past President Rotary Club of Eastwood,.
Australian Direct Aid Program Call for Applications
The Australian government’s small grants program, the Direct Aid Program (DAP), is now open for applications. The DAP is aimed at grassroots level development focussing on issues such as health and sanitation, education and vocational training, income generation, small scale infrastructure for rural communities, women’s empowerment and post war recovery .
DAP grants are available on a not for profit basis to legally registered community based organisations for projects that are designed with the community’s involvement. Local government authorities are also eligible to apply. DAP has supported hundreds of projects over the years to help transform marginalised communities by providing immediate development needs.
Applications for funding can be sought by submitting a completed DAP application form along with supporting documents. There is no deadline for submission; however proposals submitted by 31 October 2014 will be evaluated for the funding round taking place in December 2014. The following round of funding will take place in April 2015.
The DAP guidelines and application form can be downloaded from the Australian High Commission website www.srilanka.embassy.gov.au or by calling the Australian High Commission on 0112463200.
UN-Habitat Launches Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness Plans for Four Cities in the North and East with Funding from the Government of Australia.
On 15 September 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN- Habitat), in partnership with the Municipal Council of Akkaraipattu, Urban Councils of Vavuniya and Mannar and the Pradeshiya Sabha of Maritimepattu (Mullaitivu), officially launched the Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness Plan for each City at the Water’s Edge in Battaramulla today. These Plans have been developed with funding from the Government of Australia. The DRR Plans were officially handed over to the Chief Guest, Hon. Duleep Wijesekera, Deputy Minister of Disaster Management, the Guest of Honour, Ms.Sonya Koppe, the Deputy Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, and Mr.Nihal Fernando, Deputy
Director General of the Urban Development Authority by UN-Habitat and the representatives of the Municipal Council of Akkaraipattu, UrbanCouncils of Mannar and Vavuniya and the Pradeshiya Sabha of Maritimepattu. Speaking at the launch, Ms.Koppe said “Australia understands the devastating impact that natural disasters can cause. We recognise that every dollar invested in preparation and planning can save a dollar and possibly much more in emergency response, rebuilding and recovery, as well as saving lives and protecting human health." Continue reading...
Australian Federal Police conduct Criminal Asset Confiscation and Financial Investigations Symposium
The Australian Federal Police conducted a Criminal Asset Confiscation and Financial Investigations Symposium at the Institute for Security and Law Enforcement Studies in the Maldives between 9 and 11 September 2014. 35 representatives from the Maldives Police Service, Anti-Corruption Commission, Auditor General’s Office, Bank of Maldives, Prosecutor General’s Office, Maldives Monetary Authority and the Capital Market Development Authority participated in the symposium. Continue reading..
Australian university representatives and heads of schools in Sri Lanka meet in Colombo
The Australian Government organised the inaugural networking event to welcome representatives from Australian universities and heads of schools from international, government and private schools in Sri Lanka. The event was aimed at facilitating the establishment of links and creating avenues for greater engagement and collaboration between Australian universities and Sri Lankan schools.
The Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, was Chief Guest at the event. Also in attendance were Mr Sanath Jayalath, Assistant Director of National Schools, Ministry of Education, Dr Harsha Alles, President and Dr Frank Jayasinghe and Founder President of the International Schools of Sri Lanka.
The Australian Government is committed to promoting higher education opportunities in Australia within the schools sector in Sri Lanka and strives to offer best possible platform for local students seeking guidance to interact with Australian education providers. continue reading...
Critically-acclaimed Australian film, “Charlie’s Country”, to be screened at the International Film Festival Colombo
The Australian High Commission and the International Film Festival of Colombo are presenting the critically-acclaimed Australian film, "Charlie’s Country”, as an official selection at the festival. The film will be screened at 4pm on Saturday, 6 September at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall in Colombo 7.
“Charlie’s Country” stars renowned Australian Indigenous actor, David Gulpilil, who won the Best Actor Award for the film at the Cannes Film Festival and is directed by Rolf de Heer of “Ten Canoes” fame. The film tells the story of Charlie, an Aboriginal warrior past his prime, who is navigating the increasing government stranglehold over his community’s traditional way of life. He rejects the new way of life and heads into the wild to live in the old way, not realising how much life has changed.
The Australian High Commission is pleased to collaborate with the International Film Festival of Colombo to bring another acclaimed Australian film to Sri Lankan audiences. The High Commission previously screened the award-winning “Bran Nue Day” in 2012 and “Satellite Boy” in 2013.
Entry is free and is on a first-come first-served basis. Please call the Australian High Commission on 011 2463200 for more information.
Welcome Home Event in Maldives for Australia Awardees
Australia Awards Office Maldives hosted a Welcome Home Event at Mookai Hotel in Male’ on 3 September 2014 for Australia Awards Scholarship recipients who successfully completed their studies and returned home to the Maldives over the last 8 months. The event was attended by Mr Edward Archibald, Counsellor, Development Cooperation, Sri Lanka and Maldives at the Australian High Commission in Colombo. Eighteen returning scholars and four alumni of Australian government scholarships, including Ms Khadeeja Adam, Commissioner, Civil Service Commission, also attended. The event was held in the form of a round table discussion, firstly to congratulate the new alumni on the successful completion of their studies, and secondly for alumni to share their experiences in returning to the Maldives and applying the knowledge, skills and connections gained in Australia to the development of Maldives. Discussion was wide-ranging and rich in experiences, examples and practical advice, and demonstrated the passion all attendees have for the development of their country.
A group of Australia Awardees met with Mr Edward Archibald, Counsellor, Development Cooperation at the Australian High Commission in Colombo and four alumni of Australian government scholarships, including Ms Khadeeja Adam, Commissioner, Civil Service Commission at a round table discussion held in Male’.
Mr Edward Archibald, Counsellor, Development Cooperation at the Australian High Commission in Colombo participating in the round table discussion held in Male’ for retuning Australia Awardees.
The Australian High Commission Staff held a Charity Sale on 27-28 August 2014
Staff members cleared out their wardrobes, bookshelves and cupboards, boxed up all the items they never use but had been keeping ‘just in case’ and brought them to the Australian High Commission to raise money for charity.
Staff enjoyed finding some bargains while supporting a great cause.
The Charity Sale was a huge success and raised over LKR 40,000 for charities supporting children’s education.
The Charity Sale was the inaugural event run by the Australian High Commission Staff Charity Committee. The Committee plans to continue holding monthly events to raise money for worthy causes, with a particular focus on children’s education.
The Government of Australia and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) hand over community infrastructure facilities to the residents of Mallikaitivu
The Australian High Commission, together with IOM handed over community infrastructure facilities to residents of Mallikaitivu in the Mullaitivu district yesterday. With funding from the Government of Australia, IOM worked in close cooperation with Sri Lankan government authorities to construct a community building and production centre for cane based products.
The latest monthly update for Operation Sovereign Borders reveals no illegal boats arrived in August while offshore processing of asylum claims continues to progress, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
Another month has passed under Operation Sovereirei