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Implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention and Protocols

Statement made on 15 November 2017

Statement UIN HCWS244


I am today announcing and publishing measures to support the effective implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999 and the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017.

The United Kingdom ratified the Convention and acceded to the Protocols on 12th September. They will enter into force for the United Kingdom on 12th December.

Commencement regulations have been made to bring the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017 into force on that date.

I am publishing a document setting out implementation measures in three key areas: cultural property protected by the Convention and Protocols; safeguarding protected cultural property; and use of the cultural emblem.

Part one of the document identifies seven categories of cultural property in the United Kingdom which we consider meet the definition of cultural property set out in the Convention and are therefore protected by the Convention and Protocols. These categories are indicative and non-exhaustive: there may be other cultural property which meets the definition and which is therefore also protected. The list of categories is UK-wide and has been agreed with the devolved administrations.

Part two sets out our approach to safeguarding cultural property. It explains that we do not intend to impose any additional or specific safeguarding requirements on the owners, guardians and trustees of cultural property in England to be implemented during peacetime, given that they should already have plans in place to deal with emergencies and disasters and armed conflict affecting the territory of the United Kingdom is not expected in the foreseeable future.

Part three deals with use of the cultural emblem. It explains when permission to use the cultural emblem is required and how to request permission. It also explains that the government does not intend to grant permission for the cultural emblem to be displayed on immovable cultural property, such as museums and historic buildings, during peacetime, except where a strong, persuasive case can be made for doing so, in order to protect the integrity of the cultural emblem as a symbol of protection during armed conflict.

Initial permissions to use the emblem for education and training purposes and by the Ministry of Defence, for the new Armed Forces’ Cultural Property Protection Unit, the British Red Cross, and the Blue Shield International and National Committees of the Blue Shield are included in an annex. These permissions will come into force on 12th December.

Parts two and three and the permissions in the annex relate only to England. The devolved administrations are responsible for safeguarding cultural property and for granting permissions to use and display the cultural emblem in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I am also publishing a separate guidance document on the new offence of dealing in unlawfully exported cultural property which is created by section 17 of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017.

Both documents are available at

I have arranged for copies of both documents to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.