The following links are to the key conventions concerning the protection of cultural heritage during conflict and natural disasters.
Key Legislation Regarding Protecting Cultural Heritage During Conflict
(These links provide a brief description of each law, with links to further information).
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- The Geneva Convention, and Additional Protocols I and II
Whilst there are several earlier sets of legislation which deal with cultural property protection in conflict, including the Lieber Code, the 1874 Brussels Declaration, the 1880 Oxford Manual, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and the 1907 Hague Regulations, these have since been updated by more recent, widely-adopted treaty laws relating specifically to cultural property.
- The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and Additional Protocols
- The UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 1970 (commonly referred to as the UNESCO Convention 1970)
- 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects
- International Criminal Law and the International Criminal Court
Key Legislation Regarding World Heritage Sites and Intangible Cultural Heritage
(These links take you straight to the relevant pages).
- UNESCO: The World Heritage Convention
- UNESCO: Convention of Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)
- UNESCO: Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
- UNESCO: World Heritage Sites – the World Heritage List
- UNESCO: World Heritage Sites – the List of World Heritage in Danger
- UNESCO: World Heritage Sites – the World Heritage Tentative List (sites for consideration)
- Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (FARO Convention).
UN and EU Legislation against Heritage destruction
- 29 January 2016: publication of the “Report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat” (S/2016/92) – notably the Report encourages Members States, specifically police, customs and art market officials, as well as the global ICT community when it comes to online sales, take the strongest possible measures to combat illicit trafficking of cultural heritage, and strengthen their relationships with the private sector, including financial institutions, the antiquities sector and Internet service providers. Member States are also reminded to inform UNESCO and INTERPOL on all seized antiquities to help ensure their safe return in accordance with Security Council resolution 2199 (2015).
- UN Security Council Resolution 2199 (17/12/2015)
Condemning the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria, particularly by ISIL and the Al-Nusrah Front, it decided that all Member States should take steps, in cooperation with Interpol, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organizations, to prevent the trade in items of cultural, scientific and religious importance illegally removed from either country during periods of conflict.
- UN Security Council Resolution 2253 (2015)
“Condemning the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria particularly by ISIL and ANF, including targeted destruction of religious sites and objects; and recalling its decision that all Member States shall take appropriate steps to prevent the trade in Iraqi and Syrian cultural property and other items of archaeological, historical, cultural, rare scientific, and religious importance illegally removed from Iraq since 6 August 1990 and from Syria since 15 March 2011, including by prohibiting cross-border trade in such items, thereby allowing for their eventual safe return to the Iraqi and Syrian people”
- The Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the UN Security Council, publishes the report S/2014/815 on 14 November 2014, on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and the Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, following the 29 October report S/2014/770 on Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities. Specifically, the November report (S/2014/815) highlights the cooperation between UNESCO and the Sanctions Monitoring Team during the elaboration of the report, and recommends the adoption of resolution 2199
- EEAS Fact Sheet 131018/01
The European Union’s European External Action Service (EEAS) published a Fact Sheet (131018/01) entitled The European Union and Syria listing the “Restrictive Measures on Syria” in force as of October 21, 2014. These measures include the “Ban on trade in goods belonging to Syria’s cultural heritage which have been illegally removed from Syria with the objective of facilitating the safe return of those goods.”
The UNESCO Office for Iraq also lists a number of key resolutions and reports concerning Daesh and heritage destruction, here.
Key (UK) Legislation, Standards and Guidance Regarding the Protection of Heritage in Natural Disasters
(These links take you straight to the relevant pages).
- Key UK legislation for heritage protection
- The European Flood Directive and UK implementation
- UK legislation and guidance: Fire and Rescue Services, civil contingencies and resilience
- Risk Management: Other Standards and Guidance, including the UNESCO guidance on Reducing Disaster Risks at World Heritage Properties.
- European Parliament guidance: Protecting the Cultural Heritage from Natural Disasters. Read more…