20 April, 2024


Stop Harassing Bishop Rayappu Joseph

By Fr Pan Jordan OP and Fr Claude Mostowik MSC

We, Christians and concerned people, are disturbed by past and continuing actions by the Sri Lankan government against the Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Most Rev Dr Rayappu Joseph. Bishop Joseph has consistently expressed concern at the plight of the all people of the North and East of Sri Lanka. His concerns have been taken President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the UN Human Rights Council (by Skype, because travel was too dangerous), to visiting US Ambassadors who came to Sri Lanka prior to the UNHRC meeting in Geneva (March 2012), and a detailed letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself expressing his concerns at the problems faced by civilians in the north and east..

Bishop Joseph has raised major concerns about the fate of the asylum seekers deported to Sri Lanka by Australian authorities without any proper investigation and sometimes with no investigation at all.

Having had no response from the Sri Lankan President, Bishop Joseph wrote to the Australian Government urging it not to send back any asylum seekers to Sri Lanka because of harassment, and worse by Sri Lankan Armed Forces and Police who are 99% and 95% Sinhalese respectively.

Bishop Joseph was subsequently questioned for 3 hours by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) of the Sri Lankan police when he was in the Bishop’s Conference building, Balcomb Place, Kotta Rd Colombo. He has been interrogated by the TID and the Criminal investigation Department (CID) with the aim of intimidating him into silence.

We call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to:

  • stop the harassment of Bishop Joseph immediately; and

  • respond constructively to Bishop Joseph’s suggestions to improve the human rights of people in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa


Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka

C/-Office of the President

Temple Trees

150 Galle Road

Colombo 3


E-mail: secretary@presidentsoffice.lk

We call on the Australian Government to:

  • urge the Sri Lankan Government to stop the harassment of Bishop Joseph immediately; and

  • halt the arbitrary deportation of Sri Lankan asylum seekers and that their applications for protection be properly processed in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention and Australia’s own immigration policy.

The Hon Julia Gillard MP

Prime Minister

Parliament House


E-mail form: http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm

We call on UN Human Rights Council and church groups to:

  • urge the Sri Lankan Government to stop the harassment of Bishop Joseph immediately; and

  • urge the Australian Government to halt the arbitrary deportation of Sri Lankan asylum seekers and that their applications for protection be properly processed in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention and Australia’s own immigration policy.

Honourable Ms. Navanethem Pillay
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva

E-mail: npillay@ohchr.org

This material has been produced through the collaboration of Pax Christi Australia, the Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of Brisbane and the Sri Lanka Justice Forum Brisbane. For further information, please contact:

Fr Pan Jordan OP – pancrasjordan@gmail.com, 61 (0)415 461620.

Fr Claude Mostowik MSC – mscjust@smartchat.net.au 61 (0)411 450953

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Latest comments

  • 0

    While the Police and the law have a right to question anyone on legitimate grounds, in the matter of a head of a respected faith it must be done with great care and respect. That only as a last resort on possession of adequate evidence.

    It is a matter of great regret many innocent Catholic and Christian priests have simply vanished – the case of Fr. Jim Brown being one. These were taken in for “questioning” by the army and police in particular. The Govt, responsible for the safety and protection of each and every citizen, cares tuppence for enquiries about these missing persons.


    • 1


      Are you talking about those priests who transported suicide Jackets ?

  • 2

    Bishop Rauappu Joseph, the only voice of the Tamil peole in the North and East, most certainly needs protection, although it is difficult to see how this can be done given the relaity of the situation in Sri Lanka. Murder and ‘disppearances’ are now the ‘norm’. If the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka can be removed from her post despite a ruling from the Supreme Court that what has been done to her is illegal, what hance has a mere Bishop got. Those who want to get him, will. that is reality.

    It is only a massive international protest that can save him and not even that might save him. It certainly did not save Lasantha Wickrematunga, founder-editor of the Sunday Leader.

    i have, in an extensive article,(still on the Colombo Telegraph) set out the problem. This is now being expanded to update the hassment. It will also be found on the Colombo Telegraph in the next few weeks.

    I uege the international community to act befor it is too late. It is another Bishop Romero waiting to happen.

    Brian Senewiratne

    • 1

      Why only Bishop Rayappu is screaming About Tamil boat people coming to Australia and Those who selected as their Their Tamil-EEZHAM, why Brian Senevirathne is not doing the same ?

  • 1

    Why does Bishop Joseph seem to want exclusive benefits for one ethnic group in Sri Lanka, which he represents? It is dangerous, as Sri Lanka is going through a phase where all people irrespective of ethnic groups are threatened.

    Going to Australia seeking asylumn for any or all of the ethnic groups is NOT the answer. So all these letters from these individuals in Australia, egged on by people in Australia who see this as victimization by the Australian authorities, (which it is not) should be recalled.

    We are dealing with a regime which will do anything, and say anything to ensure their permanent survival and that issue must not be confused with the asylumn laws and changes to how they are practiced by each receiving country.

    In a strict sense the asylumn is about temrporary residence until conditions improve for those individuals. Let us face it, if this regime falls, and a free society takes over NONE of the Aussie emigres will wish to return, making them nothing but economic emigres.

    So please do not try to use the words of Bishop Joseph sway you. He must fight for the rights of his flock and if he has a problem, go through his Cardinal in Sri Lanka to concur, something which he CANNOT do. It is the duty of the Catholic Church to confirm the status.

    Let him first accuse his Cardinal of partiality with the absolutist dictatorial regime, and try to change the regime and not dabble in issues that are none of his business. Send his flock back home. They will be safe in the Bishop’s House! I guarantee it.

    • 0

      Patta Pal:
      Colombo Telegraph needs to develop an editorial policy against unadulterated RUBBISH such as you utter.
      Are you ignorant of what the Cardinal of the RC Church in Sri Lanka has been doing – kowtowing to The Regime like it’s going out of style?
      Asking Joseph to seek protection from the RC Cardinal in Sri Lanka is like asking a chicken to ask for the protection of Colonel Sanders’ brother!

      • 0

        He must have someTHING to utter.
        so let him.

        BUT, I HOPE,


      • 0

        Crazy man AlCIAd is in control not the Pope so Ranjith was appointed for that very purpose.
        You ever read Inner Temple and promotion of the faith- cloak and dagger by cardinal and in reality the knight. Like the freemasons in SL.

  • 1

    I omitted to mention that these self serving Catholic Priests living in secure comfort in Brisbane never having to worry about survival be it while on the job or retirement have no right to make these statements which if acted upon will see 100,000 boat people into Australia from Sri Lanka, with boat at this country’s disposal heading to Australia!

    Just to find the needle in the haystack you cannot take the whole haystack and treat them all like the needles!! Please, you are reasonable men, with common sense, think about that.

    We on the other hand risk our lives every day in Sri Lanka fighting this administration for the rights of all not just one group, and are NOT seeking asylumn. I can go to Australia with NO asylumn and live happily everafter. Give those who remain in Sri Lanka the strength of your prayers to fight for change, not waste your time in your endeavor that is NOT at all JUST and RIGHTEOUS!

    • 0

      IF SO?.

  • 1

    Bishop Rayappu Joseph with all the influence and power did nothing to stop the recruitment of children by the LTTE. On the contrary, he was one with the LTTE and never did anything to stop the murderous Prabhakaran. He may be a Bishop, but he is a racist, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” who stood by the terrorists, persuading other Catholic priests to demonstrate holding placards beside LTTE supporters against the Government forces while encouraging Prabhakaran and his minions to commit dastardly crimes killing innocent Tamils, Sinhalese and others all over the country. Now that the LTTE is no more (not really) he is attempting to take a different role. No womder that the likes of Brian Seneviratne, the #1 traitor, will side with him and support him in every way. Bishop Joseph is still “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. His cassock will not hide him.

  • 1

    We just want interbational useless idiot brian to respect SL soverinity. Brian is not a sri Lankan and what what legitimate right he has. All these guys make living out of refugese and after end of war they lost their client base so they use this kind of religeous figures to to make voice.

  • 0

    this priest helped ….

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy

  • 1

    Oka kotiya!

  • 1

    I am sure that my pseud name shall attracts pro bishop fans but my point of view !!. Hypocrisy of the Catholic church is public secret for centuries. The role of Bishop Rayappu in promoting terror by the name of Tamil Nationalism is too the same. Forget about all these rubbish political things. I just have to throw a few ethical questions to the Catholic church of Mannar.
    His (Land)Lordship whose coconut estates occupy the coastal lands from Chilawathurai to Thalamannar (consisting hundreds of acres). His paddy fiellds ranges from Murunkan to Vavuniya,Houses bought are numberless inside the Mannar Island, new forest lands are being cleared by him in a place called PeriyaKunchukkulam (in the district of Mannar), where people lead their life down the poverty line. The Bishop and his clans cheated the poor Catholics, saying that the Sinhalese are going to occupy our lands. Currently he has cleared around 30 acres under forged names of the poor villagers and have plans to make it hundred acres.Even the total lands inherited by the villages won’t go up to such extent.
    The sermon in the church by the parish priest shall always be ”Blessed are the poor, For, they shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven” ( Of course the Kingdom of Mannar belongs to the Bishop)
    Three Catholic villages in the area suffers with regards to economic, social and health factors. The school principal struggles to run the school with a little help. Girls can’t think about marriage when thinking about the dowry system introduced by the Jaffna maniacs. The Church flies high with the help of people like Brian seneviratne…

    The second thing I would like to flag here is, that none can easily forget the name Rev.Jeyarajasingham (Of the Methodist Church)Born in Batticaloa,spent all his life for the people of Murunkan indifferent of Religion , cast or creed. The man who founded ”Geevodaym” was gun down by the SL Military when he was returning from Thallady Army Camp – finishing his inquiries on the killing of Rev.Mary Bastian (also by the SL Military).He was the One man Commission appointed by JRJ. Later he was burned with his Datsun Pick Up to ashes.

    The people of the Methodist Church wanted felicitate him with a memorial at a place called Parikarikandal where he spent most of his times with youth developent projects. Our holy Lordship through his servant Rev.Stevenraj- split the same community of brethren in Parikarikandal who are Catholics and Methodist but kith and kin lived together for decades. The shamless church even had a protest at the AGA Office in Naanattan. Now there is a stay order in the Courts.

    The bishop and his priests continue to preach ”Love thy neighbour as thy love thyself”.

    People like Brian Seniviratne should first advocacy for justice to inside home. Bishop Rayappu supported Inhuman Prabaharan unconditionally to safe guard the interest of the Church. He should first stop cheating and fooling poor people by the name of God.

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