Mr. J.C. Weliamuna
Mr. J.C. Weliamuna, President’s Counsel, His Excellency the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia and Accredited to New Zeeland, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Fiji
The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, with the approval of the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts was pleased to appoint Mr. J.C. Weliamuna, PC, as the High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Australia on 9th August 2019.
Mr. Weliamuna enrolled as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 1989. Having briefly practiced commercial Law, he shifted his practice to constitutional and human rights law. As a fulltime legal practitioner specialising in constitutional law, he appeared in large number of landmark cases. He has taught constitutional Law at the Colombo University Faculty of Law and the Sri Lanka Law College. As a senior counsel, he has mentored hundreds of young lawyers who have gone on to excel in the legal profession.
He consistently championed legal and political reforms in Sri Lanka over many years. His wide knowledge of governance, best practices and human rights helped several civil society organisations working in these fields. He has advised government and non-governmental organisations, public institutions and community-based organizations on pioneering reforms in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Weliamuna held several positions in multiple sectors. He was appointed as Chairperson of the Presidential Task Force for Recovery of States Assets (START), and a member of the national Anti-Corruption Committee, in addition to his extensive work in the area of national reconciliation in the aftermath of the civil war. He has also contributed to several high profile organisations both nationally and internationally, including as a short term Consultant to the World Bank and the
International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) International Program on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).
He was an active Member and a Director of the Sarvodaya Legal Aid Movement and was elected as a Member of the first Governing Council of South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional human rights organization led by the then Indian Prime Minister Y.K. Gujarat. As the first Executive Director and then Chairperson of Transparency International Sri Lanka, Mr. Weliamuna helped bring anticorruption initiatives into the spotlight, with a focus on the role of such initiatives in resolving systemic issues of the country. He has served two terms as a member of Transparency International’s international Board.
He was also selected to be a Member of the Presidential and Ministerial International Delegations on States Visits abroad. Among his international engagements was to be as Panellist, keynote speaker, delegate of several International forums organized by UNODC, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, World Bank Stolen Assets Recovery initiative, the International Bar Association and Law Asia. He served as its Chairperson of the International Relations Committee and Convener of the Human Rights Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and was an active member of the association and its Bar Council.
He is an Eisenhower Fellow and was a Member of the Global Network Council of the fellowship. He was a Senior Asoka Fellow.
He is married to Sobodhya who is also an Attorney, and has two sons.