Tuesday 15 April 2014

"Sign the UK up to the Hague Convention"

Helen Goodman, 'Stolen art cannot be brushed over, so sign the UK up to the Hague Convention' Guardian Comment is Free,  15 April 2014: 
"Cultural objects often become a part of conflict as aggressors and defenders seek to control their history and identity, and that of their enemies. [...] The Hague convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, originally drawn up in 1954 and amended in 1999, is an international treaty that stemmed from the destruction and appropriation of cultural objects in the second world war. The convention provides protection for cultural heritage in international law, prohibiting looting, theft, vandalism and reprisals against cultural property and barring the use of cultural property for military purposes except in exceptional circumstances. Importantly, it also forbids the export of cultural property from occupied territories and makes provision for the return of objects deposited with third-party territories for safekeeping during conflict.  Yet the UK is one of the only western powers not to have ratified the convention. I am calling on the new culture secretary, Sajid Javid, to introduce legislation in the next Queen's speech to ratify the convention, and have asked a parliamentary question that will be addressed after Easter. Labour will back such a move if he agrees to this. There can be no excuse: the legislation was prepared by the last Labour government; the coalition has run out of ideas. Let's use the final year of this parliament to do something really useful on a cross-party basis".
Who'll support this? British archaeologists and their metal detecting "partners"?

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