POLICY BRIEF: Think Tank Recommends British Government Close a Gateway for Illicit Cultural Property
Chair of Blue Shield UK, Fionnuala Rogers, has worked with the major NGO Think Tank, The Antiquities Coalition, to release of a Policy Brief that analyses the UK’s decision to Repeal the EU Import Regulation in Great Britain and prevent the resulting risk of Northern Ireland becoming a gateway to Europe for illicit cultural property. Rogers argues that the repeal creates a gateway to Europe for illicit cultural property through Northern Ireland, where the regulation still applies, and that the UK must take immediate steps to mitigate that risk.
This paper makes a series of recommendations to encourage the UK to rationalize its regulatory approach, meet its international commitments, and to set a leading example for other art market countries in cultural heritage protection.
The paper follows extensive lobbying by the UK Committee of the Blue Shield, including an earlier Press Release highlighting the issue and a Memorandum circulated to UK Government. The House of Lords cited UK Blue Shield and our Memorandum, and called the Government paper "misleading" when we challenged the Government's approach to N. Ireland in its repeal of EU Reg 2019/880 on the Introduction and Import of Cultural Goods (Hansard Debate).
Blue Shield UK was pleased to support a two-day training course on Implementing the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA). The course was organised by In collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Office–Beirut, and led by Blue Shield International.
The sessions involved lectures, group exercises, Question and Answer sessions, and discussions, enabling participants to increase their knowledge and understanding of International Humanitarian Law on cultural property protection, as well UN Conventions and other UNESCO legal instruments such as the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the 1972 World Heritage Convention, UN Security Council Resolutions and how these impact on LAF’s mandate and operating procedures. Participants were encouraged not only to consider legal issues relating to CPP and efforts to prevent illicit trafficking, but also how threats and damage to both tangible and intangible CP are intrinsically linked to the protection of people and impact on their wellbeing.
A number of sessions focused specifically on CPP in Lebanon and the importance of cooperation between LAF and the relevant Lebanese heritage institutions such as the Directorate General of Antiquities in times of conflict or natural and man-made disaster. It was a pleasure to enable and deepen collaboration and cooperation between LAF and the DGA throughout the Workshop.
At the end of the training, those who took part were presented with certificates.
Read more about Blue Shield work with the Lebanese Armed Forces
Read more about Blue Shield International’s work supporting DGA, UNIFIL and others in Lebanon following the Beirut Blast on 4 August 2020
Read more about the 1954 Hague Convention in our Law Library
Visit the website of UNESCO Regional Office – Beirut