Ratna Lachman, civil rights activist

Ratna Lachman
Ratna Lachman
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Ratna Lachman, who has died at 60, following a cancer diagnosis, was a human rights and civil liberties campaigner who helped run the charitable organisation, JUST Yorkshire, lobbying for racial justice in the county.

A former current affairs broadcaster and freelance literary journalist in her native Singapore, she came to the UK in 1990 to pursue a Masters degree in feminist studies at the University of Kent, and went on to work with Yorkshire Arts and the Watermans Arts Centre in London.

After six months as a script editor at China Central Television, she returned to England and joined the Monitoring Group, a national organisation supporting victims of racial harassment and discrimination.

She set up the Rural Racism Project in the south west, an organisation dedicated to challenging institutional and racial barriers facing minority communities.

In 2008, she returned to Yorkshire as director of JUST, which had been set up five years earlier by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Its chairman, Nadeem Murtuja, said Ms Lachman had adopted the simple view that “all of our freedoms were connected, whether those be religious freedom, feminism or choice”.

A frequent contributor to the opinion pages of The Yorkshire Post, writing on politics and the police, as well as race, Ms Rachman settled in Otley,