Cultural Property (Armed Conflict) Bill [Lords]

Written evidence submitted by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) (CPB 07)

1.0 The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is an educational charity working throughout the UK to involve people in archaeology and to promote the appreciation and care of the historic environment for the benefit of present and future generations. We are the national amenity society concerned with protection of the archaeological interest in heritage assets. CBA has a membership of 500 heritage organisations who, together with our thousands of members, represent national and local bodies encompassing state, local government, professional, academic, museum and voluntary sectors. We represent the public voice for archaeology.

1.1 We work closely with organisations across the historic and natural environment in the UK and overseas. We provide secretarial services to the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group at Westminster, on behalf of the Archaeology Forum.

Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill

2.0 We have long advocated the UK’s ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols. We have been encouraged that the current Bill builds on the earlier draft Bill and has passed swiftly through the House of Lords and the first stages of scrutiny and debate in the House of Commons.

2.1 We support the present draft of the Bill and do not believe that any further amendments are required or justified. We are aware of concerns from the art trade regarding clause 17 of the Bill, but we believe that these are unfounded – in line with the views of Professor Roger O’Keefe. We hope that the Bill will receive Royal Assent in its present form before the end of the year.

2.2 Following Royal Assent, we encourage the UK Government to move to ratify the 1954 Convention and both its Protocols as rapidly as possible.

Cultural Protection Fund

3.0 We support the proposal for the UK’s newly created Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) to support a small central, Blue Shield team in London to not only help support the actions of its 25 existing voluntary national committees and the plethora of diverse activity currently taking place regarding the protection of the cultural heritage of the Middle East, but to act as a long-term centre of excellence and support for those trying to protect heritage during conflict anywhere in the world.

Submitted by Dr Mike Heyworth MBE FSA FRSA MCIfA

Director, Council for British Archaeology

November 2016

 

Prepared 16th November 2016