Protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict: guidance

Guidance on implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention, its protocols, and the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017 in Scotland.

2. Safeguarding cultural property protected by the Convention

1. The Convention also recommends that during peacetime State Parties should put in place measures to safeguard cultural property in their own territory against the foreseeable effects of an armed conflict. The Second Protocol gives examples of the kind of measures that could be taken. These include:

  • preparation of inventories;
  • planning emergency measures for protection against fire or structural collapse;
  • preparation for the removal of movable cultural property, or providing on-site protection; and
  • agreements about which bodies are responsible for safeguarding cultural property.

2. Existing protective measures and normal contingency planning in the UK cover the first three suggestions above, for example the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, or the management/conservation implications of particular designation, recognition and listing schemes.

3. The existing owners, guardians or trustees of cultural property are the right people to put in place safeguarding measures. They are already directly responsible for the cultural property and should therefore have contingency plans in place to cover a disaster or civil emergency.

4. In many cases, additional safeguarding measures will not be needed. However, the type of cultural property, its location and an assessment of the degree of risk to the property may mean extra safeguarding measures should be considered. They may also depend on the nature of the armed conflict expected. However, the government does not expect armed conflict affecting the United Kingdom in the foreseeable future.

5. We are not, therefore, imposing any additional or specific safeguarding requirements on the owners, guardians and trustees of cultural property to be implemented during peacetime.

6. Those who need advice and guidance on how best to safeguard their cultural property should contact the appropriate specialists:

  • Museums Galleries Scotland provides advice and guidance to museums on safeguarding and protecting their collections and buildings in the event of natural disasters and civil emergencies.
  • Historic Environment Scotland provides advice and guidance on safeguarding and protecting the historic environment.

7. Both organisations will, over time, update their published guidance to include, where appropriate, advice on safeguarding cultural property in the event of armed conflict.


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