UPDATE (Pakistan): The Fifth Open Letter on the Issues Regarding Fr. Pallath’s Case


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-19-2001

Update on Urgent Appeal 3 July 2001


UP-19-2001 (RE: UA12/01: Jesuit Priest Abused by His Own Order


UPDATE: The Fifth Open Letter on the Issues Regarding Fr. Pallath’s Case



Dear Friends,


We would like to send you a copy of the fifth open letter sent by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to the Jesuit superior general in Rome regarding Fr. Pallath’s case.


For further information, including this letter, please visit http://jjpallath.ahrchk.net.


Thank you.


Urgent Appeals Desk

Asian Human Rights Commission




(This is the fifth of a series of letters on the issues regarding the treatment of Fr. Pallath J. Joseph of the Kerala Province of Jesuits in India.)


An Open Letter to:


Rev. Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach

Superior General

Curia Generalize

Compagnia di Gesu

C.P. 6139

00195 Roma Prati


Fax: 39-06-686-8214


FIFTH OPEN LETTER RE: Physical Assault, Slander through the Gutter Press, Filing of Fabricated Criminal Cases, Denial of Right to Livelihood and Other Matters Relating to Fr. Pallath J. Joseph Request for an Inquiry


July 3, 2001


Dear Rev. Fr. General,


In the first and second open letters to you, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) raised some concerns from a moral and human rights point of view regarding all of the episodes relating to the case of Fr. Pallath J. Joseph of which you are aware. Our third letter to you outlined in detail why we as a human rights organisation are concerned about Fr. Pallath’s case; and in the fourth letter, we questioned the manner in which the leaders of the Jesuit order have dealt with this issue. While it is not our intention to interfere with the affairs of your order, there are matters of public interest about which many people, including our commission, is quite concerned. They are as follows:


(1) The physical assault of Fr. Pallath J. Joseph by two members of your order, together with several other hired thugs;


(2) The throwing of the body of Fr. Pallath over the wall of the Jesuit’s premises and onto the road while he was in an unconscious or semiconscious state;


(3) Slandering Fr. Pallath by some members of your order using a gutter magazine called Crime Star;


(4) The filing of fabricated criminal complaints against Fr. Pallath with the view to have him arrested as a way to prevent him from entering a Jesuit house;


(5) The failure of the Jesuit superiors to respect an agreement entered into between Fr. Pallath and the Jesuits in Kerala through the mediation of the bishop of Calicut; and


(6) The failure to provide for the livelihood of Fr. Pallath after 33 years of service.


This is my fifth open letter to you. Your silence is no deterrence to us, though your words may have made matters easier. The facts narrated above have never been denied despite the enormous publicity these facts have received. There is no way to deny these facts either as the incidents are well-known and have been well-recorded from the beginning.


THE THEME OF THE FIFTH OPEN LETTER: Isn’t the Treatment towards Fr. Pallath J. Joseph Racist? Would the Jesuit Superior General Allow Similar Treatment towards a Western Jesuit?


What if the acts narrated above were done to a Western Jesuit? Would the Jesuit superior general still feel obliged to defend his counterparts in the Indian province of Kerala? Would he ignore the complaints as he is doing in this case? Is it because what is done towards an Asian or Indian Jesuit does not matter?


There is an inherent inhumanity in the way the Jesuit superior general is keeping mute before complaints against a few senior Jesuits in Kerala Province in India who are accused of committing serious crimes against a fellow Jesuit of 33 years. This attitude can be taken in no other way than of condoning these acts. Why condone these most despicable acts?


When complaints are made to secular authorities of such abuses, or even lesser violations, quite often they initiate action. Even dictatorial regimes when under pressure respond to human rights appeals. The indifference shown by the Jesuit superior general is very rare in this case.


Consequently, it is natural to look for an explanation for this strange behaviour. It is in this context that we ask the question, Would the Jesuit superior general allow similar treatment towards a Western Jesuit?


During these days when the U.N. World Conference against Racism is the most common topic of discussion should we not include racism in religious orders in the debate as well?


Thank you.


Sincerely yours,


Basil Fernando

Executive Director

Asian Human Rights Commission

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-19-2001
Countries : Pakistan,