Respect and Protect: Fulfilling the Obligation to Safeguard Cultural Property in the Military Context

Society of Antiquaries / Historic England day conference, with support from the UK Blue Shield Committee and Newcastle University

Organised by Dr Clive Cheesman FSA (College of Arms) & Dr Helen Forde FSA

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 will be a chance to hear from those directly involved in this field and discuss the issues and challenges faced. Speakers will include Prof Peter Stone OBE FSA, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University; Lt-Col Tim Purbrick OBE FSA, the newly appointed commanding officer of the British Army’s Cultural Property Protection Unit; Dr Paul Fox FSA, secretary of the UK Blue Shield Committee; and other experts and scholars in relevant areas.

£15 per person. Will include lunch & a wine reception

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