Background and Mission
The Agreement on establishment of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure designated as a permanent body of the SCO was signed during a meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States on June 7, 2002, in St. Petersburg.
Since its establishment, the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO RATS) has made a significant contribution to the development of the Organization and has become its supporting pillar and coordinating center in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism at the regional and global levels.
The international prestige of RATS grows year on year, as it turns into an estimable example of multilateral cooperation that ensures tangible success in the field of security.
At the stage of development of the RATS, the main focus was on the establishment of an organizational and legal framework that determined the principles and areas of cooperation and ensured proper functioning of its working bodies, namely the Council and the Executive Committee.
Later, improvement of the regulatory framework was an important factor for successful implementation of joint measures by the competent authorities of the SCO member states to counter terrorism, extremism and separatism. This work is accompanied by introduction of provisions of relevant international law and legal acts of the SCO into national legislations.
As part of the rule-making activities of the RATS, the Conventions of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as decisions that regulate practical cooperation between the competent authorities of the SCO Member States in the field of security and define formats, mechanisms and instruments of their direct interaction when combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, were developed and approved by the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States,
Under the framework of the RATS, with the Executive Committee as a coordinator, targeted work is being carried out to build the counter-terrorism capacity of the SCO member states. To this end, they design and carry out joint practical activities. Among the most efficient types of activities are the annual Joint Anti-Terrorist Exercises which are being held since 2006. They allow practicing the use of the response mechanisms and training interaction between the competent authorities in order to neutralize various terrorist threats and prevent terrorist attacks.
Each exercise is designed to be as close to real life as possible, reflecting the actual conditions of the operational situation emerging in the SCO space and the tactics of terrorists.
A separate area of ensuring the security of the SCO member states from transnational crimes associated with terrorism, such as illegal migration, smuggling of drugs, weapons, explosives, etc., is the mechanism for interaction between the border services of the competent authorities of the SCO member states.
Since 2013, the border services of the competent authorities of the SCO member states have been conducting joint operations on the external and internal sections of their borders.
Under the Joint Working Group of Experts comprising representatives of the competent authorities of the SCO member states and the Executive Committee of the RATS, which has been operating since 2013, measures are taken consistently to prevent terrorists and extremists from abusing the Internet for their criminal purposes. In addition, joint exercises are held to counter terrorist activities in the global network to improve interaction mechanisms.
An important part of improving the system of countering terrorist threats is building the capacity of anti-terrorist structures. A systematic work is carried out to facilitate coordination of personnel training and further development for anti-terrorist units of the competent authorities of the SCO member states.
In order to consolidate efforts to counter terrorism, separatism and extremism, the SCO RATS develops and strengthens cooperation with international and regional organizations, as well as the competent authorities of the SCO observer states and dialogue partners.
In particular, memorandums and agreements on cooperation were signed with the Executive Directorate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council, the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Interpol, the Anti-Terrorism Center (CIS ATC) and the Coordination Service of the Council of Commanders of the Border Troops of the CIS Member States, the Secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors (CARICC), the Secretariat of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), African Center for the Study and Research of Terrorism, as well as with the KGB of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, and Counter-Terrorism Coordination Council of Mongolia.
Contacts have been established with dialogue partners, namely the competent authorities of Sri Lanka, Turkey, Cambodia, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Myanmar, Kuwait and Bahrain, and work is underway to formalize the relationships.
In addition, RATS International Scientific and Practical Conference has been held annually since 2013. Its main purpose is expansion of international cooperation in the field of combating terrorism and extremism. The conference is attended by representatives of the competent authorities, specialised scientific and educational institutions, analytical centers of the SCO member states, and relevant agencies of the SCO observer states. As the international prestige of the conference is growing, it has been attended repeatedly by the UN Deputy Secretaries General, heads of UN specialized structures, as well as the Interpol, the CIS ATC, the CSTO, the CICA, CARICC, the OSCE and other international and regional organizations.
Conference participants exchange views on new challenges and threats in the field of security associated with emerging terrorist and extremist activities in various parts of the world and efforts to neutralize them at the national, regional and international levels, discuss counteraction to the use of the Internet and information technologies for terrorist and extremist purposes, ways to further improve the practical aspects of interaction of the competent bodies and international organizations in the field of combating terrorism and extremism.
Officials of the Executive Committee of the RATS regularly participate in the preparation and holding of meetings of the Council of the Heads of State, the Council of the Heads of Government, Secretaries of Security Councils, the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Council of National Coordinators of the SCO Member States.
The key outcomes of the SCO RATS activities are annually reviewed at meetings of the RATS Council and reported to the Council of the Heads of SCO Member States.
Executive Committee of the SCO RATS