Emblems for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Times of Armed Conflicts

To facilitate its recognition, a cultural property may bear a distinctive emblem.

 

In accordance with Article 16 of the 1954 Hague Convention, the distinctive emblem shall take the form of a shield, pointed below, colored persaltire blue and white (a shield consisting of a royal-blue square, one of the angles of which forms the point of the shield, and of a royal-blue triangle above the square, the space on either side being taken up by a white triangle).

This emblem is commonly referred as “Blue Shield”.

 

 

 

The Blue Shield Emblem may be used as a means of identification of:

 

  • cultural property (with an exception of cultural properties under special and enhanced protection);
  • the persons responsible for the duties of control in accordance with the Regulations for the Execution of the Convention;
  • the personnel engaged in the protection of cultural property;
  • the identity cards mentioned in the Regulations for the Execution of the Convention.

In accordance with Article 17 of the 1954 Hague Convention, during an armed conflict, the use of the distinctive emblem in any other cases than those mentioned above, and the use for any purpose whatever of a sign resembling the distinctive emblem, is forbidden.

The Blue Shield emblem shall also be presented three times together to facilitate identifying the following:

  • immovable cultural property under special protection;
  • the transport of cultural property under the conditions provided for in Articles 12 and 13 of the 1954 Hague Convention;
  • improvised refuges, under the conditions provided for in the Regulations for the Execution of the Convention.

 

To ensure the recognition and identification of cultural property under enhanced protection, particularly during the conduct of hostilities, in order to ensure the effectiveness of the provisions of the 1999 Second Protocol and, more particularly, to contribute to the effectiveness of Article 12 of the 1999 Second Protocol on the “Immunity of cultural property under enhanced protection”, this distinctive emblem was established by the Sixth Meeting of the States Parties.

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