The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) welcomes the announcement, made in Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech, that the UK Government will ratify the UNESCO Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols.
UKNC’s Culture Director, Helen Maclagan said:
“It’s great to see this commitment to international cultural protection. We look forward to continuing to work with government as the UK develops its international role in this field – the significance of which could not be more relevant just now.”
New legislation within a UK-wide Cultural Property Bill will pave the way for the UK to ratify the Convention and its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999.
Agreed by the international community in the devastating aftermath of the Second World War, the Hague Convention and its Protocols are the primary international humanitarian law regarding the protection of cultural property during armed conflict.
The introduction of the Cultural Property Bill will also mean that attacks on cultural property will become a criminal offence and ensure that all cultural property that is protected by the Hague Convention is easily identifiable with the emblem of the Blue Shield – commonly referred to as a cultural heritage equivalent of the Red Cross.
Wednesday’s announcement builds upon the UK Government’s recent introduction of a £30million Cultural Protection Fund to protect cultural heritage overseas. UKNC is one of the bodies working with government to help steer the Fund.
These actions are indicative of the UK’s commitment to safeguarding our shared heritage at risk.