Blue Shield International staff attended two days of a NATO planning exercise at the HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) in Gloucester, training staff from multiple divisions in their legal obligations to protect cultural property under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection for Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict – signed by all NATO members (bar one). Cultural property protection is a NATO “cross-cutting theme” – one that affects all staff in all divisions – and it was clear that NATO take that responsibility very seriously. Although the emphasis was on CIMIC (civil military cooperation), staff attended the workshop from logistics, engineering, legal support, targeting, and other divisions.
The workshop emphasised the need to work collaboratively with States parties and heritage professionals in order to safeguard civilians and the cultural heritage fundamental to their identities. Feedback on the workshop was positive, with all staff reporting a greatly increased understanding of their obligations towards cultural property protection and how it relates to the protection of civilians in conflict.
Blue Shield International attended in their capacity as a humanitarian NGO, alongside UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), Save the Children,UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency), and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Learn more about the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols in our Law Library.