Although the United States ratified the 1954 UNESCO Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999 in 2009, Britain still has not – leaving it as “arguably the most significant military power” not to have passed the convention into domestic legislation. One month on from the UK National Commission for UNESCO sending the following letter to William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Protocol remains unratified  –

Rt. Hon. William Hague MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London, SW1A 2AH
 
Subject:
Ratification of the 1954 UNESCO Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999
 
1 March 2012
 
Dear Foreign Secretary,
 
We write regarding 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 of 1954 and 1999. Since the USA ratified the Convention in 2009, the UK is now arguably the most significant military power, and the only one with extensive military involvements abroad, not to have ratified it.
 
While ratification is formally the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport we write to ask for your support for DCMS in its attempts to find Parliamentary time to enable ratification. Ms Sue Davies and Professor Peter Stone, representing the UK National Commission for UNESCO, met with Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, last year at which meeting he reiterated the Government’s position, and his strong desire, to ratify the Convention at the earliest possible opportunity. We understand from meetings with representatives from your Department that the FCO is also supportive of ratification. Last year we were also requested to submit evidence to the Iraq Inquiry and we have high expectation that the Inquiry will include ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention, at the earliest opportunity, as one of its recommendations.
 
We urge you to support ratification at the earliest opportunity in order that the UK Government, and its forces, will be visibly committed to making a full contribution to the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict and that the UK will be able to act as an exemplar in international relations and humanitarian practice.
 
We are very happy to supply any additional information or meet with either yourself or your representative if it would help to support and speed ratification.
 
Yours sincerely
Professor John Morgan
Chair, UK National Commission for UNESCO.
 
William Hague may be emailed at haguew@parliament.uk