UK Blue Shield 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
UKBS was privileged to support the UK Reserves Cultural Property Protection Unit (CPPU) in running the UK’s first CPP Special to Arm course at the Defence School of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park.
The course trained the students to deliver CPP as part of higher-level military planning processes. It also covered the law, the history of the UK’s Second World War antecedent units and introduced specialist areas including illicit cultural property trafficking, war crimes, resilience, Defence Engagement, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, use of drones for assessment, first aid for damaged cultural property and philosophical issues.
The UK Reserves CPPU officers were joined by officers from Austria, Australia, France, Italy, Netherlands, US, UNESCO, Interpol, Carabinieri Unit for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Metropolitan Police, NATO, DfID, DCMS and 1 MP Brigade.
Dr Paul Fox from the UK Blue Shield designed and directed the delivery of the course, supported by other members of UK Blue Shield. Professor Peter Stone, Dr Emma Cunliffe, and Valentina Sabucco played locals with information, in varying forms of distress, to highlight the critical reality that cultural heritage protection is all about people. Prof Lisa Mol from UCL provided advice on damage caused to stones by munitions, and demonstrated the support that civilian subject matter experts can provide to CPP officers, and the importance of close collaboration. Prof Nigel Pollard from Swansea University, also a member of UK Blue Shield, delivered a presentation on the history of the Monuments Fine Arts and Archives Branch and the Art Looting Investigation Unit during the Second World War.
The students conducted reconnaissance trips to the National Trust’s Hinton Ampner House and English Heritage’s Fort Brockhurst and to the Royal Garrison Church in Portsmouth, to learn about evacuation of cultural property, cultural property refuges, and damage assessment of CP in conflict.
UK Blue Shield would like to thank the British Army, and in particular Lt. Col. Tim Purbrick, for the chance to participate in this highly valuable exercise. His exceptional dedication and hard work have made the creation of a CPP Unit in the UK possible. UK Blue Shield is committed in continuing working in close partnership with the Unit to deliver further training and provide support. Over the next month CPPU officers will be working with NATO, the Carabinieri, Historic Royal Palaces and the Defence Academy, and – together with Blue Shield International – with the Irish Defence Forces.