Despite Bangladesh's shortcomings in protecting human rights, the country's achievements are worth being proud of, said Dr Gowher Rizvi, prime minister's international affairs adviser.
"When it comes to human rights, we are significantly behind in protecting the human rights of the ethnic minority populations. Without an equitable society, none of our achievements will ever be enough," he said, addressing an event organised by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) on the occasion of Human Rights Day.
Asked about the US sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) officials, Rizvi avoided addressing the matter, saying, "I have come here today to attend an event. I was outside of the country so I will not talk about that particular issue today."
Shaheen Anam, executive director, MJF, who presided over the function, said, the Manusher Jonno Foundation has been working for the past 19 years to help the marginalised people in the country have access to government facilities and to enable the country's people to exercise their human rights freely.
"The MJF helps the less advantaged population by providing them with technical education and economic assistance," he added.
But Anam said the human rights groups are very concerned about the human rights violations in the country.
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson, who was present at the event as a special guest, applauded MJF's activities and said, "The British government firmly believes that only by achieving the rights of all people can a country be truly democratic."
Alexandra Berg von Linde, ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh, who was also present in the event as a special guest, said, "Bangladesh and Sweden have historically shared friendly ties and we believe in an inclusive approach to development and want to work towards that."
She added that development is never complete without securing human rights.
Nathalie Chuard, ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh, was also present at the event as a special guest.
She said, "We want human rights to be protected everywhere…for everyone. It is also equally important to work to achieve gender equality, social and religious rights, and to battle climate change."
Aroma Dutta, a member of the parliament, was present on the occasion as a special guest. She said Bangladesh is a model state for women empowerment.
"We must not forget the atrocities against women in 1971 and how far we have come ever since," she added.
Dr Nasima Begum, chairperson, Human Rights Commission, said the ongoing violence and abuse against women and children are tarnishing the empowerment of women.
"Women's rights must be established well by giving both men and women equal rights in the constitution" she added.
Former Advisers of the caretaker government - Hossain Zillur Rahman and Rasheda K Chowdhury - also spoke during the event, attended by many others.