“Blue Shield” emblem of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has advocated for safeguards to protect Ukraine’s endangered cultural heritage.
To prevent intentional or unintentional damage, the agency is labeling cultural sites and monuments in Ukraine with the distinctive “Blue Shield” emblem of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
What is the Hague Convention 1954? Armed conflicts have always wreaked havoc on people’s lives throughout history. In addition to the humanitarian costs, conflicts have resulted in widespread destruction of cultural heritage, undermining the foundations of communities, long-term peace, and the prospects for reconciliation.
The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was adopted under the auspices of UNESCO in 1954. The 1954 Hague Convention is the name given to this convention. Its purpose is to safeguard cultural heritage both in times of peace and during times of war.
The convention seeks to protect architectural, artistic, or historical monuments, archaeological sites, works of art, manuscripts, books, and scientific collections of any kind, regardless of their origin or ownership.
What is the Blue Shield Emblem? According to the 1954 Hague Convention, cultural property may bear a distinctive emblem to aid in its identification. The Blue Shield network is widely regarded as the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross.
Some states have refused to mark their cultural property, claiming that doing so would make the property more vulnerable to attack by an enemy determined to destroy its national symbols. Unfortunately, this was the case during the war in former Yugoslavia, where cultural property marked with the Blue Shield was destroyed.