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On 17 August 2018, Ireland’s ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the 1954 First Protocol, and its 1999 Second Protocol came into force (i.e. is now legally binding). The instruments for ratification were deposited by Ireland with the UNESCO General-Director on 17 May 2018.

The 1954 First Protocol was created a response to the systematic pillage of cultural property of the occupied territories during the Second World War. The States Parties to the First Protocol agree to: prevent exportation of cultural property from an occupied territory in the event of armed conflict; take into custody cultural property imported into its territory directly or indirectly from any occupied territory; and to return cultural property which is in its territory to the competent authorities of the previously occupied territory, if such property has been exported in contravention of the principles of the 1954 Hague Convention.

The 1999 Second Protocol adds to the existing protection under the 1954 Hague Convention in regard to the safeguarding of cultural properties and conduct during hostilities. It also defines a new category of protection, named enhanced protection, for cultural properties and establishes sanctions in case of violations and crimes against people’s cultural heritage.

Ireland is now the 133rd country to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention, the 111th country to ratify the First Protocol, and the 80th country to adopt the 1999 Second Protocol, strengthening its commitment to heritage protection in armed conflict. Blue Shield International offers its sincere congratulations to Ireland and the Irish National Committee of the Blue Shield.

To learn more about the Irish Committee of the Blue Shield visit its Facebook and Twitter page
Learn more about the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols in our Law Library
See the official statement on Ireland’s ratification on the UNESCO webpage
Visit the UNESCO website to learn more about Armed Conflict and Heritage, and the laws protecting it