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Protection of cultural objects in time of war

4 August 2014

Map of signatories to the Hague Convention. By L.tak (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Stephen Shennan and Dominic Perring have joined colleagues in expressing the need for Britain to honour its commitment to ratify the Hague Convention.

In a letter published in the Telegraph Newspaper on 21 July 2014, the 98 signatories, senior figures within academia and heritage-related organisations as well as in the media and politics, argue that the UK Government should introduce the necessary legislation to ratify the Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

  • The letter notes that "After the looting in 2003 of museums and archaeological sites in Iraq, Britain announced its intention to ratify the convention. A decade later we have yet to honour this commitment. Britain is the most significant worldwide military power not to have ratified the convention, the United States having done so in 2009."

The Institute of Archaeology supports the principles of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and the 1995 Unidroit Convention and is unique as a UK academic department in having an ethics policy concerning the illicit trade in antiquities.  The Institute offers an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies which covers practical and theoretical approaches to the key issues and working practices in the field of cultural heritage.

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