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Archaeology Matters

Cultural Property Bill gets Royal Assent

The Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill successfully passed its final parliamentary stages in the House of Commons this week and has now received Royal Assent today, 23 February.

The new Act will enable the UK to ratify UNESCO's 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two protocols – and it is likely that the UK will be the first member of the UN Security Council to ratify the Convention and both its protocols in the next few months.

The Council for British Archaeology has strongly supported the Bill since it was first proposed over ten years ago and has been active in briefing parliamentarians during the recent parliamentary debates. This support was acknowledged by the Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch MP in the final debate on the Bill on 20 February.

The CBA’s Director, Dr Mike Heyworth MBE said:

“The Council for British Archaeology congratulates the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and its Ministers Karen Bradley MP, Tracey Crouch MP and Lord Ashton of Hyde, on their efforts to secure parliamentary time for this important legislation, and for ensuring that the Bill safely passed through all the required parliamentary steps without being weakened.

This is an important step – at a timely moment – to demonstrate the value that the UK places on the cultural heritage of the world. We should play an important part in protecting cultural heritage across the world, and the CBA welcomes the linked moves to create a Cultural Protection Fund and the development of a military Cultural Property Protection Unit within the armed forces.

There is still much work to do to ensure that the new Act is fully implemented and the Council for British Archaeology looks forward to continuing to work with colleagues in DCMS, Blue Shield and others to develop our ongoing efforts to protect cultural property at home and overseas.”

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