Beena Johnson, the general secretary of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), recently achieved the historic milestone of being the first Dalit woman to speak at the United Nations General Assembly.
As reported by The Wire, paying homage to her Dalit heritage, Johnson talked about her work against discrimination. She expressed, "I belong to the Dalit community and hold a role as a representative within the stakeholder group that advocates for marginalized communities experiencing employment discrimination and limitations on their ability to express dissent."
"Combined, our collective numbers reach approximately 270 million individuals spanning across continents, encompassing indigenous populations, Afro-descendants, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Within these marginalized groups, we exemplify the essence of the "leave no one behind" principle that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) currently emphasize."
Who Is Beena Johnson?
According to the Human Rights Funders Network, Johnson has been working with NCDHR for the past eleven years. She has been dedicated to advancing Dalit Economic Rights. Her passionate efforts have been directed towards influencing policy changes within both Central and State governments to benefit marginalized communities, particularly Dalits and Tribals. She has persistently advocated for the inclusion of Dalit Women in policy formulation.
Her primary focus remains on achieving Economic Justice, with a specific emphasis on Gender Equity. She also engages in activities related to targeted budgets, fiscal accountability, and governance.
Furthermore, Johnson leads the Asia Dalit Women’s Economic Empowerment Program, which strives to empower Dalit women across South Asia, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and India, as part of the Asia Dalit Rights Forum.
A significant portion of her work revolves around engaging with UN mechanisms. She has closely collaborated with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva and the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York. Johnson has been involved with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2015, advocating for the inclusion of marginalized voices and even bringing this agenda to the High-level Political Forum in New York. She has also explored ways to improve financial management to ensure that the SDGs are attainable, particularly from the perspective of marginalized communities. Her representation at various UN platforms has advanced the cause of Dalit Women's rights.
Her contributions extend to the broader work of Dalit Rights within NCDHR, and she has actively participated in numerous national and international seminars, amplifying the voices of Dalits and Adivasis while advocating for more robust policy measures and effective implementation.
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