JUST Director, civil rights leader, Ratna Lachman has sadly passed away

The JUST board would like to share with the JUST family, community and supporters that the civil rights leader, feminist, human rights and civil liberties champion that is Ratna Lachman, has sadly passed away.

Ratna leaves behind an organisational legacy in JUST, and with that a lifetime of work that aimed to systematically dismantle structures that perpetuate inequality. Ratna, throughout her lifetime spoke truth to power – steadfast, unapologetic and uncompromising in her relentless determination to secure freedoms and equality for minorities are just some of the characteristics and values Ratna lived by. Whilst political opponents and Chief officers of many institutions may have found Ratna’s stance and position on equality, at times difficult, it is no question that in a world where economics and Government rule, Ratna constructively challenged these institutions to reconsider their positions on a whole host of policy issues with great success – Ratna though small in stature was a mighty force on the most critical issues.

It is because of people like Ratna that the Government itself is reconsidering its approach to counter-terrorism and namely PREVENT. In this regard, JUST will be publishing its own independent review so that the Government, people like the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham etc can commence a much needed local and national conversation of “what’s next” framed in the context of human rights. This is just one example of Ratna’s legacy that she leaves behind, a gift if you like to the family of JUST, to continue her legacy of human rights and civil liberties for all.

Nadeem Murtuja, Chair of JUST Yorkshire said:

Ratna will be incredibly missed – she is, and always will be an irreplaceable force – championing the cause of human rights, civil liberties, feminism and mainly Muslims, who she felt had been hung out to dry since this horrific ill-fated war on terror. Ratna had a simple view, and that was that all of our freedoms were connected…whether those be religious freedom, feminism or choice – none of these were mutually exclusive. To stand up for one freedom, was equal to standing up for them all.

Ratna, fiercely opposed the national / Queens honours and would stop any suggestion she should be awarded an honour. Not because she did not support the concept of “being honoured for contribution to public life” to the contrary she did. Ratna was of the view that to be honoured with an honourary award that included the term “empire” is akin to whitewashing the history and hurt that many of the minorities she spoke for still suffered from today, and in this regard she hoped that the Government and monarchy consider how minorities are awarded for their contributions in public life without compromise.

Finally, from me as Chair of JUST Yorkshire, and on behalf of the board, we would like to pay the strongest tribute to Ratna for her spirit, contribution and leadership – she fought throughout her lifetime, even during when this disease of cancer had taken a grip on her own life, she still fought tirelessly for the human rights of others, whilst forsaking her own. Without Ratna, there would be no JUST, and without JUST we (the board members & staff) would not have been brought together to carry forward the remarkable work of a remarkable human being. We will miss Ratna’s will, passion, life, resilience and smile for life immensely.”

JUST will not be publishing any further press releases for the next seven days as a sign of respect to the civil rights leader and national treasure, Ratna Lachman.

Tributes can be sent to

If you would like to send flowers to the family it was Ratna’s wish that instead could you please send donations to Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley.

You can use the following link to do so.

Please select Wheatfields on the form to direct your donation.


This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. So sad to hear the news that Ratna has passed, she was a true and passionate believer in justice…really lost for words. She was very supportive of the work of the National Black Police Association (NBPA) over the years, helped us to develop and taught us how to challenge injustices within our profession
    Ratna will be greatly missed🙏🏾
    Former President
    Charles Crichlow

  2. Ratna it was a privilege to know you and to work alongside you. You were an inspirational woman who I will always admire cxx

  3. Deepest sympathy and condolences to Ratna’s loved ones, family and friends. Will always treasure her compassion, empathy and kindness. God Bless and RIP. Vandna

  4. So sad to hear this news .. condolences to family and friends, praise and thanks for the life and work of this amazing woman … Plymouth is a better place for her time here….

  5. I am so saddened to hear of Ratna’s passing. She was a force to be reckoned with and brought formidable passion, vision and resilience to the fight for racial justice in West Yorkshire. With peace and best wishes to her family and close ones.

  6. Everyone from the team at Sunrise Radio expresses their deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the inspirational Ratna. The world is a better place for all that she has done. She will be sorely missed by us all.

  7. Very very sad news: No amount of words I could ever write could pay enough tribute to one of the greatest women I’ve ever known and worked with (in Plymouth) – a very special kind of human being. Down here in England’s “Deep South” she stamped on hostile ground that many feared to tread – built and lit the beacons of hope in the dark and ugly shadows of racial injustice – helped people and communities off their knees, to walk as giants – and unlocked the voices of the unheard. Goodbye Ratna – rest forever in peace xxx

  8. This is tragic news. Ratna was an important voice in our communities who worked tirelessly not just for equality but for justice. Knew her through V4CE but she also followed the Justice4Paps campaign and other death in custody and police brutality cases that I support and was keen on how we were shining the light on South Asian/Muslim deaths. Spoke to her earlier this year about the Yassar Yaqub shooting but hadn’t realised that she was so ill. Thoughts and duas to all her family and friends at this sad time.

  9. On behalf of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, I send sincere condolences to Ratna’s family and loved ones. This sad news has come as a great shock and losing Ratna is a great loss to our movement. We worked with Ratna on various campaigns and always valued her input and contribution and strong stance against injustice and discrimination. May Ratna’s legacy live on in all of us. Rest in Freedom Ratna.

  10. So very sad news .She was motivated by tackling injustice and demanding rights for everyone .Money didn’t motivate her .The world needs more people like her and I’m very sad to hear that this great lady as died at a young age ! She will be missed

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