Experts condemn British government for failure to ratify convention protecting cultural property
Crossbench peer leads criticism of repeated delays despite widespread looting in Syria
By Anny Shaw. Web only
Published online: 21 July 2014
Politicians and leading archaeologists have criticised the British government for failing to ratify the Hague Convention in the current parliamentary session. MPs and peers lobbied the government to introduce the necessary legislation at the beginning of the parliamentary year in June, but no bill was included. The Hague Convention was originally drawn up in 1954 and amended in 1999 to protect cultural property in the event of armed conflict. The UK is the only major Western power that has not ratified the treaty.
In a letter published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper today, 21 July, Nicholas Trench, the Earl of Clancarty who is a Crossbench peer, described Britain’s failure to ratify the treaty as “mystifying”. Trench said that in 2008, a draft Cultural Property Protection (Armed Conflict) Bill passed through parliament with minor revisions. “Ministers of successive governments have pledged their commitment to ratification as soon as parliamentary time can be found… The latest Queen’s Speech left ample parliamentary time free to pass additional legislation in the current session,” he said.