Special protection represents a higher level of protection in comparison with the general protection derived from Article 1 of the Convention concerning all cultural property falling its scope, irrespective of origin or ownership. Special protection may be granted to a limited number of:
- Refuges intended to shelter movable cultural property in the event of armed conflict;
- Centres containing monuments; and,
- Other immovable cultural property of very great importance.
The granting of special protection is subject to essentially two conditions:
- the cultural property in question must be situated at an adequate distance from any large industrial centre or from any important military objective constituting a vulnerable point; and
- such property may not be used for military purposes.
The granting of special protection is not automatic, but may be granted upon the submission to the Director-General of UNESCO of a request of the State on whose territory the cultural property is found. To obtain special protection, no other State Party may object to the request.
The cultural property is granted special protection by its entry in the ‘International Register of Cultural Property under Special Protection’, a special register maintained by the Director-General of UNESCO.