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Archaeology Matters

After the Hague Convention

Now that the Hague Convention looks set to be ratified by the UK's Government, we need to think ahead to how best to empower both protocols and how to make best use of the UK's new Cultural Protection Fund. The CBA and other sector leaders have written to the government to help polarise their thoughts on the matter.

Palmyra Tetrapylon

The Council for British Archaeology and other key figures and organisations in the sector have been pushing for the formal ratification of both Protocols of the 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property during times of conflict for many years.  Consequently, we were delighted to learn that this would be made possible via the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill which was introduced into Parliament earlier this year. The Bill has already made good progress through the House of Lords and is due to be passed in the Commons later this year.

We also welcomed the Government's proposal for a Cultural Protection Fund to further protect cultural property during times of conflict. Together, these two initiatives mark a massive step forward for global protection of heritage - the UK will be the only one of the UN's five permanent members to have ratified the convention and to have shown a will to go even further.

However, we need to ensure that both of these progressive steps are followed through in the most effective way possible. Therefore the Council for British Archaeology is amongst the signatories on a letter sent to Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport this month focussing on how best to enact the Hague Convention using the new Cultural Protection Fund and achieve a lasting benefit via support for the Blue Shield.

CBA Director, Mike Heyworth said, "The Cultural Protection Fund is a vital new resource but we must bear in mind that it is a limited one given the incredible scale of the issues it faces. We need to plan how to make the most of the funding available to achieve a real and long-lasting impact - and put the UK at the forefront of cultural property protection across the world.  The UK has made a commitment to be a leader in heritage protection thanks to this fund and through ratification of the Hague Convention. Now we must demonstrate to the world that not only is cultural property worth saving, but set an example of how best to do just that via support for the Blue Shield."

The full letter is available in the attachment below.

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