Robbie Bulloch » Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka UK co-operation: a personal story

Dr Garusinghe: the consultant surgeon who performed the initial shunt surgery

A lot has happened since I last managed to post a blog, which partly explains why I haven’t.  Firstly Sri Lanka hosted one of the biggest international events in its history when Commonwealth leaders met here last November.  This year there has been intense work and debate in the run up to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, which passed a resolution on Sri Lanka.  And more recently I was pleased to see the start of … Read more »Sri Lanka UK co-operation: a personal story

Observations on Maldives

Male' in the rain

Working in the Maldives might seem like a good gig but it’s not always as glamorous as it sounds. While the island nation undoubtedly has some of the most outstanding resorts in the world, like most other places it has its rainy season and urban centres. As diplomats these are where we spend most of our time.  The past couple of days saw me reaching regularly for my brolly as … Read more »Observations on Maldives

Chevening evening

Chevening scholars 2013-4

Last night I hosted a reception for Chevening scholars from Sri Lanka and Maldives.  It marked the 30th anniversary of the Chevening scheme which offers Foreign Office funded scholarships for post graduate students to study in the UK.  The idea behind the scheme is to enable high performers and future leaders in different fields to study at one of the UK’s excellent universities and make a positive contribution to their … Read more »Chevening evening

Summer internship – Guest Blog

Sanjana Mukhi

This summer, for the first time, our Trade and Investment team offered an internship at the High Commission. We were delighted to host Sanjana Mukhi who got involved in all aspects of the team’s work.  Below she shares some reflections of her experience of working with us. We hope to run a similar scheme again next year. My two month summer internship at the British High Commission with UK Trade and Investment … Read more »Summer internship – Guest Blog

Changing Platforms

Our new High Commission

Buying and selling property is stressful and always takes longer than you think. But none of us expected that the sale of the old British High Commission on the Galle Road would take three agonising years to complete. When we finally signed the deeds last month it was both a relief and a momentous occasion: the British High Commission had been on the Galle Road since 1963. Many of our … Read more »Changing Platforms

Free Expression – the fundamentals of civilisation

Ismail Rasheed - aka Hilath

Today marks the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. The day was established to celebrate freedom of the press and to remind governments of their duty to uphold freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Freedom of the press is fundamental to any healthy democracy but throughout the world many journalists live in fear of reprisals because of their work and serious attacks against them … Read more »Free Expression – the fundamentals of civilisation

The Man with the Buddha Tattoo

David Beckham

A few weeks ago a British man was refused entry to Sri Lanka because he had a large visible tattoo of Buddha on his arm. Sri Lankan immigration officials took the view that it would cause offence and concluded that he should not enter the country. Initial reports suggested that the visitor had also voiced disrespect towards Buddhism although the man later declared that he was himself a Buddhist and … Read more »The Man with the Buddha Tattoo

The future of the Commonwealth

Awarding certificates at the closing ceremony of Commonwealth workshop for Youth Leaders in Sri Lanka

On Monday I took part in a ceremony to round off a two-day workshop for youth leaders across Sri Lanka. The event, held at the National Youth Services Council in Maharagama, was run to coincide with Commonwealth Day, which is celebrated across the globe in March each year. During the event participants learned about the Commonwealth and its values as well as its extensive Youth Programme. They also discussed this year’s … Read more »The future of the Commonwealth

Of Justice and Forgiveness

Demonstrations in Colombo for the release of Rizana

Like many I was saddened by the execution of the Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek in Saudia Arabia last week. The UK had been actively supporting calls for clemency, not least because there is evidence to suggest that Rizana was a minor at the time of the alleged murder she committed (UK statement on execution). The UK and fellow EU Member States are strong advocates for abolition of the death penalty (which is … Read more »Of Justice and Forgiveness

One year on: remembering Khuram Shaikh

Khuram Shaikh

As I settle in to enjoy the holidays with my family back in London I can’t help but reflect on the tragic death of Khuram Shaikh who was killed in Sri Lanka on 25 December last year. I was in Colombo at the time and received a phone call early on Christmas morning to inform me of the devastating news: Mr Shaikh, a British national, had been attacked and killed by … Read more »One year on: remembering Khuram Shaikh