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Retired Sri Lankan bishop risked life for Tamils, say activists

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Sunday, January 24, 2016 | 11:51 PM


Prelate survived assassination attempts while championing the rights of the underprivileged
Sri Lankan rights activists are hailing the work of Bishop Rayappu Joseph who, due to ill health, resigned on Jan. 14 from the pastoral care of the majority Catholic Tamil Diocese of Mannar.
Jehan Perera, executive director of the National Peace Council, said Bishop Joseph played a major role in helping Tamil civilians during Sri Lanka's civil war.
"He organized people who were terrified to stand up for their democratic rights to vote at elections," Perera told ucanews.com.
From 1999 to 2001, before the Norwegian government acted as the peace facilitator, Bishop Joseph and his Sinhalese counterpart, then-Bishop Malcolm Ranjith of Ratnapura, were intermediaries between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Perera said.
"Bishop Joseph gave credible, courageous and spiritual leadership to the Catholic Church in the midst of life-threatening conditions," he said.

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