National consultative seminar on implementation of 1954 Hague Convention held in Kabul

National consultative meeting on implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two protocols was held in a three-day seminar at Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC).
The 1954 Hague Convention and its protocols focuses on the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflicts. On the second day of the seminar attended by government officials and representatives of a number of international organizations, deputy minister of art and culture Prof. Mohammad Rasul Bawary said that the seminar was aimed to review laws on the protection of historic monuments in armed conflicts zones as well as to implement the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two protocols.
Briefing related to cultural property in the country, deputy minister of art and culture said: “The ministry of information and culture has been able to identify 5,000 historic sites, register 1700 historic monuments and preparing boards for 900 cultural monuments in the country.”
He added that directorate of historic monuments for ministry of information and culture has been also able to specify 7000 historic sites with close cooperation of DACA and UNESCO, saying that today 400 historic sites have been approved and registered through the ministry’s archeology committee.
Meanwhile, deputy of legislation institute for ministry of justice Mohammad Ashraf Azimi by pointing to the country’s laws said that one of the government’s commitment was to review laws as various laws have been reviewed so far.
On the first day of the seminar, acting minister of information and culture said that the seminar was aimed to prepare comprehensive program for protection of cultural heritages in armed conflicts’ zones and asked participants in the seminar to deliver their visions and suggestions to the seminar.
The acting minister of information and culture also asked MoD and MoI to inform MoIC when they plan military operations in areas in the country to protect cultural property.
It is worth mentioning that The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict is the first international treaty that focuses exclusively on the protection of cultural property in armed conflict. It was signed at The Hague, Netherlands on 14 May 1954 and entered into force on 7 August 1956. As of September 2018, it has been ratified by 133 states.
The provisions of the 1954 Convention were supplemented and clarified by two protocols concluded in 1954 and 1999. All three agreements are part of International Humanitarian Law, which, in the form of further agreements, primarily includes provisions defining the permissible means and methods of warfare and aiming at the widest possible protection of persons not involved in the fighting.
In contrast to these parts of International Humanitarian Law, the agreements on the protection of cultural property were drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations (UN); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is primarily responsible for the dissemination and monitoring of compliance. In addition to rules designed to ensure the protection and respect of cultural property during an armed conflict, these agreements also provide for security measures to be implemented in times of peace. As of June 2018, 132 states are party to the Hague Convention of 1954, 109 and 77 states respectively have acceded to the Protocols of 1954 and 1999. Blue Shield International, based in The Hague, is active in the field of international coordination with regard to military and civil structures for the protection of cultural assets.
Shukria Kohistani

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