Museum world calls for UK to ratify Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Propert 11 Aug 2014

Senior figures from across the UK cultural scene have written to the Telegraph asking why the UK has not yet ratified the Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.  The writers include the Earl of Clancarty, David Anderson, President of the Museums Association, Michael Palin, Sir Simon Jenkins, Chair of the National Trust, Sir Laurie Magnus, Chair of English Heritage, Sir Tony Robinson and historian Bettany Hughes.  They say “in 1954, the international community agreed the [convention] following the devastating impact of the Second World War on some of Europe’s most valued heritage, including paintings by Van Gogh and Caravaggio; the St Petersburg amber room; and architecture such as St Mary’s Church, Lübeck, and the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino. After the looting in 2003 of museums and archaeological sites in Iraq, Britain announced its intention to ratify the convention.  A decade later, we have yet to honour this commitment.” 

The convention has all party support, but successive governments have failed to find parliamentary time.  The letter argues that the last Queen’s speech left ‘ample time’ for the ratification of the convention.  Telegraph