This year is the 70th Anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which was created on the 14 May 1954. It is also the 25th Anniversary of its Second Protocol, which was opened for signature on 24 March 1999. Today, these treaties are the most important and widely recognised pieces of international law protecting cultural property in conflict.
The Blue Shield Movements has its roots and founding in the 1954 Hague Convention – in 1955, R.J. Wilhelm, of the Legal Department of the International Committee of the Red Cross, asserted:
‘The “Red Cross of Monuments”, Revue Internationale de la Croix Rouge et Bulletin International des Societes de la Croix-Rouge. VIII (2), 1955, pp.76-87, p87.
Founded in 1996, today, the Blue Shield Movement works around the world to protect all types of threatened cultural heritage in conflict, but also in crisis, unrest, and following disaster. This anniversary is an opportunity to raise awareness about the Convention and its obligations, to push for ratification in countries which are not yet party to these vital laws, and to showcase the work and importance of the Blue Shield Movement as we reflect on 70 years of successes and challenges of the Convention, and look towards the future.
This Information Pack is aimed at Blue Shield National Committees, but contains information anyone interested in the history of the Convention will find useful. It provides information about the 1954 Hague Convention and its Protocols – what they are, and why they matter? How are they linked to the Blue Shield? What are the obligations on States Parties to help protect heritage in conflict? To do this, we have chosen to use small amounts of legal language, and provided a glossary, to help you understand the details. It also has some ideas for events, so you can commemorate the anniversary with us, along with hashtags for social media, and sources of more information.
We hope you find it useful – please do contact the Blue Shield Secretariat for more information!