PANEL: What is Cultural Property Protection?
This year the Blue Shield is celebrating our 25th anniversary!
The UK National Committee of the Blue Shield joined in the anniversary celebrations with the British Army Cultural Property Protection Unit with a free virtual panel discussion on 13 October to explore What is Cultural Property Protection?
The last thirty years have seen a continual increase in cultural property protection, following the wars of Yugoslav succession in the 1990s, and the ensuing creation of the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
A decade of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa has resulted in a new wave of ratifications for this important piece of legislation and its uptake into various civil and military agendas. Cultural property protection is now recognised as part of, or discussed in relation to, the laws of armed conflict, human security and the protection of civilians, peace and security, prevention of terrorist financing, international relations, and the responsibility to protect, amongst others.
Yet, a recent Report by Blue Shield International and the Nordic Center for Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict noted: “The concept of CPP is unclear and varies across organizations and expert communities. This confusion of ends, means and relevant authorities stands as a key barrier for setting priorities and allocating resources.”
This panel asks what – in all these areas – does CPP mean, and what does it look like? What are the differences and what makes it unique? Are some aspects more relevant than others, and why? Is it one thing to all people, or has the field now advanced to the point where “cultural property protection” is no longer a catch all term, but one which must be defined in the contexts in which it is used?
Join key leaders in cultural property protection to explore what it means to them in their work today.
Read more about the Blue Shield 25th Anniversary on the Blue Shield International website
Read the Report by Blue Shield International and the Nordic Center for Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict
Respect and Protect: Fulfilling The Obligation To Safeguard Cultural Property In The Military Context
Talks are now available online from this one day Society of Antiquaries / Historic England conference, organised with support from the UK Blue Shield Committee and Newcastle University.
about the event
Awareness of the harm that armed conflict does to the world’s cultural heritage has probably never been higher. Events in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria are fresh – raw, even – in the communal consciousness. The issues, though pressing, are not necessarily simple, and 2019 sees a range of events, exhibitions and conferences on the general themes, in Britain and abroad. Both nationally and internationally there is a sense of being at a critical point in understanding what is at risk, and in formulating a practical response.
On the military side, the framework for that practical response is the Law of Armed Combat and the Hague Convention of 1954. With the long-awaited ratification of the Convention in 2017 the UK became obliged to create a military capability to identify and safeguard cultural property in areas of armed conflict. But both in the British armed forces and in NATO measures were already well under way to deliver this capability and ensure that the Convention’s requirement to ‘respect and protect’ cultural property in conflict zones is written into operational decision-making processes.
Aimed at the archaeological, wider academic and interested lay communities, this day conference was a chance to hear from those directly involved in this field and discuss the issues and challenges faced. Speakers included Prof Peter Stone OBE FSA, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University and Chair of UK Blue Shield; Lt-Col Tim Purbrick OBE FSA, the newly appointed commander of the British Army’s Cultural Property Protection Unit; Dr Paul Fox FSA, member of the UK Blue Shield Committee; and other experts and scholars.