We highlighted this issue earlier in the year here and here. On the Letters’ page of today’s Telegraph the issue is raised yet again. The time to ratify the convention is now long overdue and should be done without further delay. The letter, and the signatories to it, are as follows -
 
SIR – In 1954, the international community agreed the Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 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.
 
Britain is the most significant worldwide military power not to have ratified the convention, the United States having done so in 2009.
 
In 2008 a draft Cultural Property Protection (Armed Conflict) Bill passed through parliamentary scrutiny with only minor revisions suggested. Ministers of successive governments have pledged their commitment to ratification as soon as parliamentary time can be found.
 
This commitment is to be applauded, but continuing failure to ratify is mystifying. It has all-party support. Protecting cultural property in conflict is seen by the Armed Forces as a “force multiplier” – something that makes their job easier.
 
The latest Queen’s Speech left ample parliamentary time free to pass additional legislation in the current session. So the Government should delay no further in introducing the necessary legislation to ratify this important treaty.
 
Earl of Clancarty
London SW1
 
Professor Peter Stone
Secretary General of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield; Head of the School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University
 
Sir Laurie Magnus
Chairman English Heritage
 
Sir Simon Jenkins
Chairman National Trust
 
Lucy Worsley
Chief curator Historic Royal Palaces
 
Michael Palin
 
David Anderson
President, Museums Association; Director General, National Museums Wales
 
Dan Snow
President, Council for British Archaeology
 
Amanda Foreman
 
Dame Rosemary Cramp
Professor Emeritus, Durham University
 
Sir Adam Roberts
Senior Research Fellow in International Relations, Oxford University
 
Dame Fiona Reynolds
Master, Emmanuel College, Cambridge
 
Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn
Chairman, all-party parliamentary archaeology group
 
Lady Antonia Fraser
 
Sir Barry Cunliffe
 
Loyd Grossman
Chairman, Heritage Alliance
 
Sir Tony Robinson
 
David Starkey
 
Bettany Hughes
 
Baroness Andrews
 
Lord Stern of Brentford
President, British Academy
 
Lord Cormack
 
Peter Hinton
Chief Executive, Institute for Archaeologists
 
Dame Margaret Drabble
 
Sue Cole
International Council on Monuments and Sites UK
 
Lord Howarth
 
Gillian Slovo
 
Baroness Bonham-Carter
 
Professor Stephen Shennan
Director of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London
 
Lord Maclennan of Rogart
 
Dr Neil Curtis
Convenor of University Museums in Scotland
 
Nick Poole
Chief Executive Officer Collections Trust
 
Baroness Young of Hornsey
 
Professor Mike Robinson
Director, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage
 
Dr Eleanor Robson
Chairman, British Institute for the Study of Iraq
 
Sir Bob Russell MP
 
Dr Mike Heyworth
Director, Council for British Archaeology
 
Kamila Shamsie
 
Lord Roper
 
Professor Andrew Wilson
Head of the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford
 
Glenda Jackson MP
 
Iain Watson
Director Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
 
Susan Ronald
 
Peter Trowles
Mackintosh Curator, Archives and Collections Centre, Glasgow School of Art
 
Lord Collins of Highbury
 
David Mander
Chairman, Archives and Records Association
 
Professor Nicholas Thomas
Director, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge
 
Baroness Butler-Sloss
 
Dr Jonathan Tubb
Keeper at the Middle East Department, British Museum
 
Dr Robin Skeates
Director, Museum and Artefact Studies, Durham University
 
Professor Niall Sharples
Head of Department of Archaeology, University of Cardiff
 
Dr John Schofield
Head of Department of Archaeology, University of York
 
Lord Colville
 
Peter Ride
Research Fellow in Visual Culture, University of Westminster
 
Dr Joshua Pollard
Head of Archaeology, University of Southampton
 
John McDonnell MP
 
Dr Dominic Perring
Director Centre of Applied Archaeology, University College, London
 
Dr Mark Pearce
Head of Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham
 
Dr Alan Outram
Head of Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter
 
Lord Redesdale
 
Dr Nick Merriman
Director, Manchester Museum, University of Manchester
 
Dr Antoinette McKane
Programme leader, Museum and Heritage Studies, Liverpool Hope University
 
Dr Sam McGuiness
Head of School of Education, University of Ulster
 
Professor Tom Jackson
Director of Centre for Information Management, Loughborough University
 
Professor Audrey Horning
Head of School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, University of Belfast
 
Professor Carl Heron
Head of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford
 
Professor Roberta Gilchrist
Head of School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading
 
Professor Chris Gerrard
Head of Department of Archaeology, Durham University
 
Dr Allen Foster
Head of Department of Information Studies, University of Wales
 
Dr Andrew Flinn
Director, International Centre for Archives and Records Management Research, University College, London
 
Professor Keith Dobney
Head of Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen
 
Professor Tim Darvill
Director, Centre for Archaeology, University of Bournemouth
 
Dr Vicki Cummings
Reader in Archaeology, School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, University of Central Lancashire
 
Professor Jim Crow
Head of Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
 
Dr Gillian Carr
Director of Studies in Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
 
Professor Stuart Campbell
Head of School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester
 
Dr Alexandrina Buchanan
Chair of the Forum for Archives and Records Management in Education and Research; Co-director, Centre for Archive Studies, University of Liverpool
 
Dr Andrew Bracey
Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, University of Lincoln
 
Professor Graeme Barker
Director McDonald Institute for Archaeology, Cambridge University
 
Professor Douglas Baird
Head of Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool
 
Dr Ian Anderson
Coordinator of Museum Studies, University of Glasgow
 
Adrian Sanders MP
 
Mike Williams
Secretary of the Nautical Archaeology Society
 
Hafed Walda
Archaeologist, King’s College London
 
Dr Lutgarde Vandeput
Director, British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara
 
Bijan Rouhani
Vice-president, International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness
 
Julian Radcliffe
Chairman, Art Loss Register
 
Dr Nigel Pollard
Swansea University
 
Jan Picton
Secretary of the British Association of Near Eastern Archaeologists
 
Suzanna Pembroke
Arup
 
Fiona Macalister
 
John Lewis
General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Society of Antiquaries of London
 
David Lakin
Arup
 
Paul Fox
University of York and University College London
 
Peter Clayton
 
Hugo Clarke
UK National Committee of the Blue Shield
 
Dr Neil Brodie
Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow
 
Dr Suzanne Macleod