SCO sets standards for countering extremism (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In June 2017, the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) signed the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, which will help strengthen the international legal framework to address new challenges and threats as well as increase the effectiveness of cooperation between relevant authorities of the member states and to improve legislation in this area.

The SCO Convention is the first international agreement that defines extremism as an illegal activity prosecuted by law. It contains a broad and comprehensive definition of extremism as "an ideology or activity aimed at solving political, social, racial, national and religious conflicts by violence and other anti-constitutional acts". It stresses the need to respect the international law, national sovereignty and primarily the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs, and creates a mechanism for cooperation in countering and preventing extremism.

For the first time the Convention contains the full list of extremist's activity, which include, among other things, violent seizure of power, infringement on public  security,  armed  rebellion,  fomenting  of political,   social,  national  and religious strife, supremacy and hate propaganda, etc. As a result, it has a unique "added value" of helping creating united approaches to the countering extremism, be it violent or non-violent. It is crucial to have such a mechanism available in the wider context of rising terrorist's threat and challenges posed by so-called "colour revolutions". The examples are the current turmoil in Libya, Syria, Iraq etc.

The Convention sets a precedent for other international organizations and countries that are interested in putting an end to terrorism and extremism based on the international law, the UN Charter and the UN Security Council resolutions, and other relevant UN documents in this field.