Responding to a request from TASS to comment on the signing of the convention on countering extremism at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Astana, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov described the convention as the SCO's collective response to the growing threat of this dangerous phenomenon.
"The threat of extremism is an urgent issue and must be removed without delay. We are witnessing an upsurge of extremist crimes all over the world. Countering this destructive phenomenon is a critical task of the entire international community," Mr Alimov said.
He recalled that the leaders of the SCO member states noted the need to draft an international legal foundation as early as in 2001 when they adopted the Shanghai Convention on Combatting Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism.
"It is important to remember that the SCO member states were the first members of the international community to coordinate such a document on the basis of consensus. In the UN, for example, they have been discussing a universal anti-terrorism convention for almost 40 years," Mr Alimov said. He emphasised that the new threats to international security require more effective and urgent measures. "The convention adopted by the SCO summit is aimed at upgrading the mechanism of countering extremism within the SCO. It is elaborating the provisions of the SCO Development Strategy Towards 2025 and is consonant with the main issues raised by the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy," he said.
Features of the new document
Mr Alimov noted that the 2017 convention determines the limits of the sides' jurisdiction, including cases of mutual competence. In addition to the existing areas of counteraction, the convention emphasises the need to draft and carry out measures aimed at preventing the spread of extremist ideology and the use of the internet for extremist purposes, enhancing outreach activities and patriotic education, cooperating with international and regional organisations, conducting research, and providing protection to victims and witnesses. Mr Alimov said the convention creates cooperative mechanism for preventing and jointly countering extremism, and facilitates the unification of national laws.
"The adoption of the convention on countering extremism is extremely urgent. The SCO member states expressed their deep concern over the escalation of extremism in the 21st century and understand the link between the two evils — extremism and terrorism," Mr Alimov said. He noted that the new document describes "extremism in no uncertain terms as a breeding ground for terrorism that threatens peace and security, the territorial integrity of states, the development of friendly interstate relations and guarantees of human rights and freedoms."
"The SCO member states underscored, in particular, that using extremism to achieve political and geopolitical goals is unacceptable," Mr Alimov said. He described as the document's major innovation "the shared view on the legal foundations of resisting violent encroachment on legitimate governments not only as regards mounting terrorist threats but also, more broadly, as regards the prevention of any coup d'etat," Mr Alimov said.
"The new convention may become the backbone for drafting other anti-extremist laws within the SCO. This document is a collective response of the SCO to the new forms, methods and features of extremist activities," Mr Alimov said in conclusion.
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