Protecting human rights, eradicating all forms of inequalities and ensuring social harmony - these goals cannot be compromised, as they have to be carried out against all odds, said stakeholders at an event.
"I personally believe human rights, women empowerment and exclusivities are non-negotiable. However, these are not going to be achieved overnight," Hossain Zillur Rahman, adviser to the former caretaker government and also the executive director of the Power and Participation Research Centre, told the event organised by the Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) marking its 20th anniversary on Saturday.
"The environment, no matter whether it is easy or difficult, is a contextual thing. What needs to be done to ensure human rights cannot depend on that. It depends on our commitment and our will," he said at the event held at the Bangladesh Liberation War Museum conference room in the capital.
"As we work more, we discover new boundaries of vulnerabilities. Once we thought that we were just the poor, but our endeavour then discovered extreme poverty," Zillur said.
"So this is an ongoing process and it is important to keep on searching to find out who is being left behind," he added.
Ambassador of Sweden to Dhaka Alexandra Berg von Linde said that women here are facing challenges every single day.
She emphasised ensuring gender equality to fix the society as still many challenges remain.
Asif Saleh, the executive director of Brac, said, "We are worried about the social harmony. Because there is a lot of social anxiety and chaos out there."
"Where there is more inequality, the more social challenges will surface. The challenges will be far greater in the coming days. Climate change and adaptation are very important for all of us," he added.
Mentioning gradual changes through LDC graduation, British High Commissioner to Dhaka Robert Chatterton Dickson said, "We will continue to support initiatives of the Bangladesh government, other players and partners, in particular, to find solutions to these social issues."
He said that partnership has to be strengthened among the allies to improve the lives of marginalised people in the coming days.
Mentioning the dire need for social stability in the country, the chief guest of the event Planning Minister MA Mannan said, "The task of empowering the weaklings will also threaten if social stability is not ensured."
MJF celebrates 20th anniversary amid festivity
Meanwhile, MJF celebrated its two-decade anniversary in a festive manner. The event started with the national anthem at the Liberation War Museum on Saturday, followed by various cultural programmes where marginalised groups participated as an expression of solidarity.
Shaheen Anam, executive director of the organisation, said, "In 20 years, MJF has touched the lives of three million people. We have tried to work with stakeholders in 330 upazilas of 52 districts of the country so that the marginalised people are not left behind."
Among others, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, High Commissioner of Canada to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls and The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam spoke at the event.