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Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts ) Bill

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

Today I am publishing and laying before Parliament a draft of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny. The Bill will help to ensure the security of the nation’s most important cultural property in the event of armed conflict and will send a signal to the international community that the UK takes seriously its obligations under international humanitarian law to respect and safeguard the cultural property of other nations.

The Bill is required to enable the UK to ratify the 1954 Hague convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague Convention) and accede to its two protocols (1954 and 1999). The convention, adopted following the massive destruction that took place during the second world war, provides a system to protect cultural property from the effects of international and domestic armed conflict. Parties to the convention are required to respect cultural property situated within the territory of other parties by not attacking it, and to respect cultural property within their own territory by not using it for purposes which are likely to expose it to destruction or damage in the event of armed conflict.

The Government welcome any comments on the draft Bill. Copies of the Bill will be available to Members from the Vote Office.