The United Nations and United States are showing interest in greater cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Human rights advocates, meanwhile, are urging caution when engaging the SCO, calling attention to the group’s role in suppressing political dissent in Central Asia.
The SCO, founded in 2001, has for most of its existence been seen in the West as an anti-American club, dominated by Russia and China, with the primary aim of reducing US influence in Central Asia. Most famously, at a summit in 2005, the group called on the American forces to develop a timetable for vacating military bases in the region.
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Joshua Kucera is a freelance writer who specializes in security issues. He is the author of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.
Central Asia: Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Rise in Popularity Worries Rights Groups