India on Thursday refused to sign a global declaration adopted at an international conclave as it referred to the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, PTI reported.

The Bali Declaration, adopted at the World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development in Indonesia, called on all parties to contribute to restoring stability and security in the region. It urged everyone to “exercise maximum self-restraint from using violent means, respect the human rights of all people in Rakhine state regardless of their faith and ethnicity, as well as facilitate and guarantee safe access for humanitarian assistance”.

The Indian delegation, led by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, said it was inappropriate and unjustified to refer to the Myanmar violence in particular as the forum was focused on the Sustainable Development Goals of all countries.

“This was in view of the fact that the declaration, which was to be adopted at the conclusion of the forum, was not in line with the agreed global principles of ‘sustainable development,’” the Lok Sabha Secretariat said.

The meeting comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi that India shared their “concerns about extremist violence in Rakhine state”, referring to the stateless Rohingyas in the region. He said India “understands the challenges” and praised the Nobel Prize winner’s leadership of “Myanmar’s peace process”.

Rohingyas in India

On September 5, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said the government had set up a task force in various states to identify and deport Rohingya refugees in India. He maintained that the Rohingyas were illegal immigrants who needed to be deported “as per the law”.

On August 18, India’s National Human Rights Commission had issued a notice to the Home Affairs Ministry over its decision to send them back to Myanmar. The commission had said that as per the Constitution of India, the right to life and personal liberty applies to all, irrespective of their citizenship. The Human Rights Watch had also urged New Delhi to “abide by its international legal obligations” and not forcibly deport Rohingyas.

Around 40,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees live in India across Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Delhi.