“What the government and the international community need is to ensure that they live with dignity,” he told journalists after a meeting with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at the state guesthouse Padma today.
Mazou and his colleague Gillian Teiggs, assistant high commissioner for the refugees (Operations), visited Bhasan Char in Noakhali on May 31 where Bangladesh Navy built a housing project for 100,000 Rohingyas.
Since December last year, some 20,000 Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar were relocated there. The UN is yet to engage in Bhasan Char.
During their visit, some 4000 Rohingyas demonstrated in demand of livelihood, money and third country resettlement.
Rouf Mazou said, “It is clear that when you live in an island like Bhasan Char, you feel isolated. Therefore, you must first have economic activity.”
“We must make sure that they have education, healthcare and livelihood…to make sure they are not idle.”
It is an opportunity that should be used the best before they return to Myanmar, he said.
Asked when the UN is going to begin operations in Bhasan Char, Mazou said they are in discussion over this with the government.
It is the UNHCR mandate to work with the government to help the refugees wherever they are, he said.
Asked about third country resettlement, Gillian Triggs said they have discussed the matter with the foreign minister.
“This can be done for very vulnerable people and very small groups. But repatriation is the ultimate solution.”
Asked how the UN is working with Myanmar government, Triggs said they are working on some projects to improve the conditions in Rakhine but added that now it is a very difficult political situation in Myanmar.
The UN will continue to work with the Myanmar authorities and pursue it for Rohingya repatriation, she said.