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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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. https://www.sueryder.org/donate/one-off-donation/donation-form
Please select Wheatfields on the form to direct your donation.