U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Thomas C. Shcur from the 203rd Military Police Battalion, 49th MP Brigade, during a joint community policing patrol in Basra, Iraq, April 3, 2010. Schur is a member of the Police Transition and Security Team, which is responsible for training the Iraqi police forces.  Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq. The US ratified the Hague Convention in 2009. Photo by Staff Sgt. Adelita Mead.

MA backs Blue Shield calls for Hague Convention ratification

Patrick Steel, 21.04.2015
New MPs to be encouraged to push for ratification
The Museums Association (MA) is backing calls from the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield for parliamentary time to be given to the ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

Following the general election on 7 May, the MA and the Blue Shield are encouraging museum and heritage professionals to write to their MPs urging them to support the ratification of The Hague Convention and its 1954 and 1999 Protocols and to seek parliamentary time for the amended Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill 2008 to be brought before parliament.

Peter Stone, the chairman of the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield, said: “There are representatives in both houses who want to push for this legislation to be passed as early as possible in the new parliament.

“The UK National Committee of the Blue Shield is campaigning to encourage new MPs to push for the issue also, and is urging all museum and heritage professionals to write to their local MP to encourage them to push for the convention to be ratified.

“The convention has not been ratified despite the UK government promising this is a priority since 2004, and the UK is now the largest military power not to have ratified. We are out on a limb on this internationally.

“The British Army and the Ministry of Defence are clear that deployments will work within the spirit of the convention. But in terms of political and moral commitment on an international level, it is essential for us to ratify the convention, and embarrassing that we haven’t.”

Alistair Brown, the MA’s policy officer, said: "The UK’s reticence to ratify the Hague Convention is hard to fathom.

"Recent events in the Middle East have demonstrated precisely why we should commit under international law to protect cultural property in times of conflict.

"The MA believes that the time has come to settle this issue once and for all, and is supporting the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield in its efforts to bring the issue to the attention of the next intake of new MPs."

A news analysis in the May edition of Museums Journal will look at the issue of destruction of cultural property by Islamic State.

Links and downloads

Draft letter to MPs (word)

The Blue Shield

Any queries please email: peter.stone@ncl.ac.uk