Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict urged all stakeholders to protect cultural heritage in Afghanistan
The Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which held its 16th meeting on 2-3 December 2021, adopted a declaration urging all stakeholders to take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent any damage to cultural heritage sites, archives and museums, and to ensure the protection and preservation of cultural and documentary heritage in Afghanistan in all its diversity.
The meeting followed the 14th Meeting of the High Contracting parties to the 1954 Hague Convention and the 9th Meeting of the Parties to its Second Protocol, which brought together over 100 countries to discuss the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflicts.
Opening the meeting, Mr Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, recalled that the 1954 Hague Convention remains more relevant than ever in the face of armed conflict around the world. He encouraged all Member States that have not yet done so to take all necessary steps to become Parties to this international instrument and its two Protocols, since achieving universal ratification will strengthen our commitment to protecting cultural property in the event of armed conflict.
The meeting elected H.E. Mr. Sankardja Lare-Sambiani (Togo), as Chairperson, the first official to hold this position from Africa since its first meeting in 1962.
The meetings provided a platform for the representatives of the States Parties to the 1954 Hague Convention to exchange on good practices and to underscore challenges on the protection of cultural property. It was noted that 60 countries submitted reports on the implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention, a notable increase compared to previous years. The importance of establishing effective monitoring mechanisms for the protection of cultural property was also stressed.
The States Parties unanimously supported the Thematic Programme “Heritage for Peace”, which places cultural heritage at the heart of the process of peacebuilding mediation, conflict resolution, post-conflict recovery and building the defences of peace.
The Meeting of the Parties to the Second Protocol also elected Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Finland, Japan, Qatar and Ukraine as the six new Members to the 12 Member Committee, who will each serve a four-year term until 2025.