WORLD HERITAGE CONVENTION AND LIST
12. 1. At its 1972 General Conference, UNESCO adopted a comprehensive resolution calling on the world to introduce wide ranging measures at the international, national and local levels concerning the protection of both the cultural and natural heritage, and introducing a Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage261.
12. 2. Part I of the World Heritage Convention adopted a much wider and more comprehensive UNESCO definition of the `cultural heritage'262, a new definition of the `natural heritage' and an obligation each State Party to `identify and delineate different properties situated on its territory' qualifying under the Convention. Part 11 continued with an undertaking by States Parties to recognise an obligation to identify. protect, conserve, present to the public and transmit `to future generations' the cultural and natural heritage situated in their territories, and to take `effective measures' for the protection, conservation and presentation of this, and to participate in a new system of international co operation263.
12. 3. Part III established the `World Heritage Committee', organised within UNESCO but funded by the States Parties to the Convention, originally comprising fifteen participating States (now twenty States) elected during a general assembly of High Contracting Parties held during each UNESCO General Conference264, and with representatives from relevant international expert bodies, particularly the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
12. 4. One of the main responsibilities of the World Heritage Committee is to receive and consider and evaluate national inventories to be submitted by each State Party of `property forming part of the cultural and natural heritage, situated in its territory and suitable for inclusion in' the World Heritage List established under the 1972 Convention, and to add to the List those `which it considers as having outstanding universal value'. There is also provision for a List of World Heritage in Danger, for which both expert and financial assistance may be requested under the 1972 Convention both in immediate emergencies and in respect of longer term protection and conservation etc.265. The Convention also provides for the establishment and funding by States Parties of a World Heritage Committee Secretariat, appointed by the Director General of UNESCO266.
12. 5. Part IV of the 1972 Convention established a trust fund the World Heritage Fund to finance both the regular work of implementing the Convention (the Secretariat, the World Heritage Committee etc.) and for specific projects. There are three different sources of finance for the Fund: (1) compulsory and voluntary contributions by States Parties to the Convention fixed by the periodic general assemblies, (but not exceeding 1% of each state's UNESCO compulsory contribution), (2) additional voluntary contributions by States Parties, UNESCO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and any other international organisation, and (3) moneys from other sources, including donations from private foundations and individuals and other fund raising etc.267
12. 6. Part V of the 1972 Convention sets out the principles and procedures for giving and administering international assistance268, and the last main sections, Parts VI and VII, provided for educational programmes, campaigns and publicity, and for the preparation and submission of regular reports by States Parties to the World Heritage Committee269.
12. 7. There is no doubt that the World Heritage Convention has been one of the outstanding achievements and successes of UNESCO in the whole of the cultural field. The concept of World Heritage Sites has clearly captured the attention and imagination of not only governments and across the world, but also of the general public. More than 130 States are now parties to it, including a number of major states which are not parties to the 1954 Hague Convention, including China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
12. 8. The World Heritage Convention came into effect on 17 December 1975, three months after the depositing of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, and in the 18 years since then 378 World Heritage List sites and monuments have now been designated by the World Heritage Committee. This is, of course, in marked contrast with the single designation (the Vatican City) of `centres containing monuments' under Special Protection under the provisions of the 1954 Hague Convention.
12. 9. Clearly there are lessons to be learned from the success of the listing under the more recent Convention compared with the earlier one. Partly this must be due to the less political and more positive nature of World Heritage designation (which primarily affects the site itself and the State where it is located) compared with protection under the 1954 Hague Convention against the threat of war or other armed conflicts, (which has at least as great, if not greater, an impact on other States Parties - hence the right of all High Contracting Parties to object to a `Special Protection' proposal. However, there are a number of other features of the World Heritage Convention and its procedures which have probably helped considerably. The existence of the World Heritage Committee assists considerably in developing a feeling of `ownership' and mutual assistance of its Convention. In particular, the fact that States Parties know that the national schedules of important cultural and natural heritage sites that they prepare, will be submitted to the regular meetings of the World Heritage Committee probably give these additional weight, and hence greatly encourage participation and compliance. (Unfortunately, the provision of the World Heritage Convention calling for the submission of periodic reports on the action taken to implement the Convention seems to be largely ignored by States Parties.) The existence of a modest supporting budget for the Convention from the contributions of the States Parties is also a considerable help in developing and promoting the it.
12.10. There has been much discussion recently about the possibility of integrating more closely the Hague and World Heritage Conventions. ln particular, those particularly alarmed by serious losses of the world's natural environment in the devastation of war consider that the Hague Convention (or some similar international instrument) ought to be available to give protection to natural habitats and ecosystems in times of armed conflict.270
12.11. There are of course a number of areas in which their objectives meet or even overlap. However, it would be wrong to minimise the differences between the fundamentals of each, not least at the level of the basic definitions. ln particular, the World Heritage Convention deals specifically with geographical locations of great cultural or natural interest, but does not extend in any way to the important movable cultural property that the Hague Convention and Protocol aims to protect equally alongside immovable cultural property. Conversely, Hague deals only with cultural property, while the World Heritage Convention give equal weight to the natural heritage as well.
12.12. From the point of view of the acceptance and promotion of the Hague Convention in many ways it would be a good thing to link the two Instruments more closely, not least in view of the outstanding success of the World Heritage Convention in terms of international acceptance, recognition and application. Nevertheless, no reasonable interpretation of the 1954 Convention, which deals specifically and exclusively with cultural heritage property of importance to humanity, would permit its extension to include natural heritage property of similar importance. Incorporating the natural heritage in the Hague provisions would require fundamental amendments to its basic objectives or, more likely, a completely new treaty.
12.13. Some of the most important provisions of the 1954 Convention those relating to the concept of pre registered and internationally notified `special protection' of localities of pre eminent world cultural importance have clearly not been effective because of the almost total failure of High Contracting Parties to submit proposals for `special protection'. However, many of these very same States Parties have prepared and submitted cases for the inscription of important cultural sites on the World Heritage List.
12.14. By no means all World Heritage List cultural sites and monuments could meet the requirements for `Special Protection', regardless of their outstanding importance because of their proximity to what would in wartime be legitimate military targets. To take just one example, on the south coast of England the historic naval complex at Portsmouth has outstanding naval fortifications and other monuments of great archaeological, architectural and technological importance dating from medieval times to the l9th century which could very well meet the World Heritage List standard. However, it is right in the centre of the country's largest present day naval base which could never be replaced and demilitarised in the event of armed conflict.
12.15. The World Heritage Convention also has a valuable provision for the designation of World Heritage List sites on a special list of `World Heritage Sites in Danger', affording them additional protection at least in terms of publicity and emergency assistance271. For example, in anticipation of formal action, and in accordance with his responsibilities in support of the requirements of the Hague Convention, the Director-General of UNESCO, Dr Frederico Mayor, made vigorous attempts to try to achieve `respect' in accordance with the requirements of the 1954 Hague Convention for Dubrovnik.
12.16. Under the World Heritage in Danger provision the December 1991 meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Carthage placed the Old Town of Dubrovnik (one of nine World Heritage Sites in the former Yugoslavia) on the `Danger' list, thus supporting and reinforcing the various urgent efforts being made by the Director-General. The Assistant Director-General for Culture, M. Henri Lopes represented UNESCO at the 31 December 1991 `Concert for Peace' in Dubrovnik, and two weeks later the Director-General announced an emergency allocation of $200,000 US to start emergency work on the war-damaged buildings and monuments in the Old Town, with Mme Giselle Hyvert of the Physical Heritage Division of UNESCO establishing a long-term mission in Dubrovnik itself.
12.17. It is recommended elsewhere in his Report272 that high priority needs to be given to establishing a substantial, but realistic, list of monuments etc. granted Special Protection under the 1954 Convention. One way of making rapid progress in this would be for High Contracting Parties to the 1954 Convention to submit potentially eligible World Heritage Convention cultural sites for `special protection' designation as `centres containing monuments and other immovable cultural property of great importance', where there are no problems of conflict with potential legitimate military targets.
12.18. All States Parties to the 1954 Hague Convention should therefore be RECOMMENDED to review all of their important cultural sites and monuments inscribed on the World Heritage List, or proposed by them for inclusion, and consider proposing them for `Special Protection' under the Hague Convention as well, where the other criteria, such as their adequate separation from potential legitimate military targets can be met.
NATIONAL, REGIONAL, ETHNIC AND
13. 1. All four Geneva Conventions of 1949 for the first time extended the principles of the rule of fundamental international humanitarian law to non-international armed conflicts. Common Article 3 of these aims to protect persons taking no part in the hostilities, including members of the armed forces who have laid down their arms and those who are hors de combat for any other reason. In particular Common Article 3 is also particularly important in that it places an absolute prohibition at all times and all places certain defined acts, including violence to life and person, especially murder, mutilation and torture, the taking of hostages, `humiliating and degraded treatment', and the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without due legal process in a properly constituted court273.
13. 2. In a direct parallel with the 1948 Genocide Convention, in the application of which it is necessary to recognise that the killing of large number of people is not as such proof of the crime of genocide, the mere occurrence of armed fighting due to lawlessness or unorganised terrorism may not constitute `armed conflict' for the purposes of the Geneva Conventions within a particular territory. The International Committee of the Red Cross guidance on defining the applicable circumstances is clear:
a. any situation where, within a State's territory, clear and unmistakable hostilities between the armed forces and organised armed groups...;
b. any situation where dissident forces are organized under the leadership of a responsible command and exercise such control over a part of the territory as to enable them to conduct sustained and concerted military operations (intensive fighting)274.
Common Article 3 also declares that applying the conditions of the Article for humanitarian reasons cannot be used as evidence in relation to the legal status of the parties to the conflict: a most important - indeed essential - practical condition.
13. 3. Following the precedent of the Geneva Conventions the 1954 Intergovernmental Conference made a comparable provision for the protection of cultural property during non-international conflicts:
Article 19. Conflicts not of an international character
1. In the event of an armed conflict not of an international character occurring within the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the provisions of the present Convention which relate to respect for cultural property.
2. The parties to the conflict shall endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
3. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization may offer its services to the parties to the conflict.
4. The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the parties to the conflict.275
13. 4. Those drafting the 1954 Convention probably envisaged war in terms of well-defined international conflicts between structured and well-disciplined military commands on the pattern of the two World Wars. However, looking back over history this was probably a mistake: more than half of all the armed conflicts resulting in fatalities that occurred between 1820 and 1945 were mainly internal rather than external conflicts, or mixed conflicts276, and the great majority of the perhaps almost two hundred armed conflicts that have occurred in the world since 1954 have been anything but traditional, well-organised and -commanded traditional international wars. As long ago as 1972 a leading legal expert commented:
... sub-conventional and guerrilla warfare... has become the central form of contemporary armed conflict.... there is a very real problem here that needs more clarification in positive international law on the one hand and more imagination and restraint on the part of belligerents on the other.277
Formal declarations of war are almost unheard of, as are formal exchanges of the respective rules of engagement. Protecting Powers are rarely nominated and agreed and only a very small proportion of the fighting in the many armed conflicts of the past forty years have consisted of organised set-piece fighting, whether by land, sea or air, between two well-defined States.
13. 5. In contrast with what seems to have been expected in 1954, since the Hague Convention came into effect, perhaps only the 1956 Suez operation and the two subsequent Arab - Israeli Wars, and the two Gulf Wars of the past decade (Iraq - Iran, and the Iraq invasion of, and subsequent `Desert Storm' expulsion from, Kuwait) were conducted along traditional lines, (though even in these cases they were significant complications in the form of internal uprisings by racial, cultural or religious minorities, as with e.g. the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in the north and south of Iraq respectively). Most wars have had a major element of internal armed conflict even where there was a substantial international involvement as well, as with the Vietnam and Afghanistan conflicts.
13. 6. One of the most marked features of the past quarter century has been the steady resurgence of internal conflicts of all kinds. At one extreme these include quasi-military operations by secret, irregular, terrorist campaigns by extremely small groups of political or religious extremists with little or no popular support from the population at large, and which almost certainly do not meet the Red Cross definitions of armed conflicts, and hence should probably be classed as simple criminal acts. For example, despite their self-declared title of the `Irish Republican Army' the losses of and damage to important historic monuments in the 1992 and 1993 car-bombings of the City of London and the 1992 fire-bombing of the important regional military history museum in Shrewsbury Castle, also in England, could not be claimed as resulting from `armed conflict', nor could the serious damage to Argentina's leading Hispano-American art museum (and national historic monument), the Fernando Blanco Museum in Buenos Aires, also in 1992, in the murderous car-bombing of the nearby Israeli Embassy by an unidentified terrorist group. The term `armed conflict' is equally inapplicable to the cultural atrocity (accompanied by tragic loss of life) when religious fundamentalists tore down with their bare hands the historic Mogul period Great Mosque at Ayodhya, India, in December 1992.
13. 7. However, from events such are these ranges a full spectrum of internal conflicts with a political, regional, cultural or religious basis, right through to full-scale civil wars, independence uprisings, and - increasingly frequently - mixed conflicts with either international intervention within a pre-existing internal conflict on the one hand, or a planned or opportunistic internal uprising by dissident groups or regions taking advantage of the country's involvement in an international conflict.
13. 8. With hindsight it is easy to say that the events of the past forty years ought to have been predicted. The 1945 United Nations Charter in its very first Article introduced an inherent ambiguity between the guarantee of the stability of, and non-intervention in, sovereign states, while simultaneously guaranteeing the `right' of self-determination to the (undefined) entity of a `people'. As P. E. Corbett points out in his study of the international law of civil wars of independence and self-determination, `since revolution is a normal mode of self-determination' the U.N. Charter in effect purports to confer on `peoples' a legal right to seize their independence by force if necessary278. The Charter was of course adopted in 1945 at a time when well over half the population of the world were under colonial or military occupation, (or reverting to a bitter civil war following the ending of the war with Japan, in the case of China). To take just one example, it is surprising that the 1954 Conference did not see as a warning of possible grave problems to come as colonial empires broke up the extensive loss of both life and physical symbols of cultural and religious identity that had occurred in the partitioning of British India in 1947, and then current internal uprisings occurring in the French colonies of both Indo-China and north Africa.
13. 9. The predominant viewpoints of so much of the world's current military and cultural leaders are Eurocentric - North Atlantic. Both experts and the general public have been first stunned, and then outraged, by events such as the current, highly publicised, wars in the former Yugoslavia (and the far less publicised ethnic conflicts in many regions of the sixteen newly independent republics of the former Soviet Union). In particular, deliberate destruction of cultural property in the former Yugoslavia has been on a horrendous scale. Expert assessments indicated that the cultural damage and loss in the first seven months of the 1991 Yugoslav/Serb fighting in Croatia was of a different order of magnitude from that of the devastating 1979 Montenegro earthquake, and greater than in the four years of the Yugoslav campaign of the Second World War279.
13.10. It has to be recognised that the deliberate targeting and destruction of important monuments and collections have become increasingly common features of both internal and international conflicts in many part of the world. Only when this has ben seen by the international news media, especially television, to be happening in internationally famous tourist centres such as the World Heritage List city of Dubrovnik have non-specialists become aware of, and outraged by, this.
13.11. However, events such as these ought not to have been such a surprise. For at least two decades there has been a growing amount of research and published information on the rise of ethnic, racial and religious tensions in many parts of the world and of the parallel rise of `internal' nationalisms in many parts of the world - not least in many countries of Europe - suggesting a long term threat to world stability through the breakdown of present patterns of comparatively large, often multi-national and multi-ethnic political sovereign States, very largely created between about 1870 and 1920, (including of course most of the ex-colonial national frontiers in Africa and Asia).280 Against less than 200 sovereign states in the world even after the recent fragmentation of the former Socialist Block of Europe and Soviet Asia, across the world there are many thousands of geographical, ethnic and cultural `peoples' who could claim (and in a growing number of cases are demanding) the status of `nations' in the traditional rather than modern political sense, though increasingly the United Nations Charter's `right of self-determination' following the principles and guarantees of Article 1 of the United Nations Charter is being claimed as well)281.
13.12. Far too little attention was paid to the implications of either overt or suppressed expressions of national or ethnic identity - at least until the explosions in the former Yugoslavia and the fragmentation of the former U.S.S.R. (and now Czechoslovakia), all along ethnic lines. One of the leading academic (and later in his career political) exceptions was Daniel Moynihan who as early as 1979 predicted the disintegration of the Soviet Union along ethnic lines:
Now the nationality strains begin. Whatever Marxism may have meant to intellectuals, it is ethnic identity that has stirred the masses in the twentieth century, and they are stirring near the Russia borders.... Since 1920 the Communists have rather encouraged ethnic culture, while ruthlessly suppressing ethnic politics. It won't work.282
13.13. These discussions are not, of course, new. Arguments about the nature of social groups up to the political level go back at least to Plato and Aristotle, who recognised the way in which society is built up from the (koinonia = association or household), into the µ (Komé = village or community) and then into the (Polis = literally the city, but in Classical Greek times meaning the independent political state). Aristotle also recognised that whatever the level of the group conflicts leading to strife and bloodshed lead in turn to further division and fragmentation283. Similarly, bonds of blood in terms of race and common family descent, of language, religion, class (or caste) or a mixture of some or all of these - a common culture or ethnicity - are increasingly powerful factors in the self-selection of peoples into ethnic or cultural units. These typically have shared underlying assumptions of the group regarding the physical and spiritual nature of the world, and their place in it - in geographical and social terms. The shared understanding of the values, conventions and sense of place of the group is an enormously important factor in creating the cohesion and the emergence of distinct ethnic or cultural `peoples' in sense that the authors of the United Nations Charter appear to have intended. The very concept of `culture', as well as any definition of it, is therefore far from an absolute one, but on the contrary is very much a product of the culture and values of those making the various self-definitions of it:
The idealist expropriation of culture is thus not a matter of whim or taste (who cares what you call it), but an emergent production of definite structural and infrastructural conditions.284
13.14. It is in principle easy to distinguish between natural groupings: blood-relation groupings - from families to kinsmen and ultimately to the concept of the race, and artificial groupings: voluntary associations of peoples, such as groups based on religion, distinct (and perhaps isolated or otherwise) clearly defined geographical territory, language, or cultural practices, which together create distinct ethnic units. However, these are far from fixed in either space or time: discussing the `Idea of Race', Michael Banton commented:
As peoples can understand their history only through the concepts of their own time, it is continually necessary to rewrite history in the light of new concerns and understandings. Equally, people interpret their own time in the light of their beliefs about the past, and if they misunderstand their past they cannot properly understand their present.285
13.15. Claude Lévi-Strauss in his now classic Race et Histoire of 1961 argued that:
Humanity ends at the frontiers of the tribe, the linguistic group, sometimes even those of the village, at the point that a substantial number of the so-called primitive populations designate with a name that signifies `human beings' (or sometimes speaking with greater discretion `the good peoples' `the excellent peoples', `the complete peoples', implying also that the other tribes, groups or villagers do not possess some of the virtues, or the same human nature, but are, more or less composed of `bad people', `evil people' `ape-men'...286.
13.16. In fact, following the wanton destruction of physical symbols of `the other' in the religious wars starting with the Crusades and continuing intermittently through to those of the Protestant Reformation and on into the 17th century, there was a degree of stability and respect for peoples, at least within Europe. However, old divisions and conflicts in new bottles began to arise and accelerate from the early years of the 19th century:
The modern ideas of race, class, and of nation, arose from the same European milieu and share many points of similarity. All three were exported to the furthest points of the globe and have flourished in many foreign soils. In so far as men have believed that it was right to align themselves on the basis of race, class and nation, or have believe that these would become the major lines of division, so these ideas have proved their own justification. But events have not borne out the prediction very closely. Nation has been the most successful of the three. The idea promised that every man possessed a nationality as a natural attribute and that he had the right to be ruled only as a member of his own nation. This implied that a State must coincide with a nation and that minorities must separate and join up with their fellow nationals... The sentiment of nationality is obviously influenced by the natural boundaries of geography by shared language, outward appearance, and culture.287
13.17. At the very moment that modern nationalism was beginning to emerge, C. Franz warned:
Germany has never been a `State', and it should never become one, because it would then no longer be Germany. It must overcome the idea of statehood, and conceive the idea of a totally different kind of community, destined for a much higher purpose - that is the precondition for a resolution of the German problem, for Germany is, in itself and for itself, an international being. It must elevate itself from both the political and quasi-political points of view.288
13.18. One of the most remarkable features of the past half-century has been the enormous expansion in the preservation and presentation of physical symbols and evidence of cultural identity289. Though there have been museums for more than four centuries, it is estimated that around 95% of all the world's present-day museums have been established since the end of the Second World War, and over the same period the number of legally protected and preserved monuments, historic buildings and sites in the world has risen from a matter of a few thousands to perhaps as many millions.
13.19. There has, however, been a potentially negative counterpart to this, in that the heritage and museum professions, governments etc., have in recent years constantly stressed the central importance of both immovable and movable cultural property as vital symbols of cultural identity, whether at the community, regional or national levels. While it would be ludicrous to suggest that the many hundreds of recent outrages in the former Yugoslavia against important monuments and collections particularly associated with the various `enemy' ethnic or religious groups290, it is at least arguable that the very success of the `heritage industry' over the past few decades has played a significant part in identifying the key targets for such violent acts in breach of not just the 1954 Hague Convention both equally of national criminal law.
13.20. One highly complex issue of international humanitarian law that needs to be considered by appropriate experts, and perhaps eventually by the International Court of Justice by way of a formal Opinion, is the question, increasingly posed in lay circles, as to whether the deliberate obliteration of all evidence of the existence of an ethnic, religious or other group identity of a racial group through destruction of their physical symbols of identity could in extremis fall within the definition of the crime of genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention. Although in its final form this Convention was adopted primarily to prohibit the physical elimination of a racial group by the killing its members, either directly (through mass murders) or by deliberate indirect methods such as starvation, the Secretariat draft proposed a specific extension for what was termed `cultural genocide', including:
(e) systematic destruction of historic or religious monuments or their diversion to alien uses, destruction or dispersal of documents and objects of historical, artistic or religious value and of objects used in religious worship.291
The actual definition of prohibited acts in the final text of the Genocide Convention excluded `cultural genocide' as such but did include a prohibition on `Causing serious ... mental harm to members of the group'292. Could, for example, it extends to the elimination of racial groups by means of deliberate assimilation through the forced suppression of identity or the institutionalise destruction of the racial group's sacred or other key cultural property constitute `causing serious mental harm' to the group? In the absence of any definitive ruling or agreed position on including `cultural genocide' within the current definition a number of workers in the field have begun to use the term `ethnocide' for the process by which a distinct ethnic group loses its racial, ethnic or cultural identity as the result of official policies intended to erode and eliminate its territorial, economic, linguistic and cultural base293.
13.21. Non-international conflicts present many serious practical problems to all parties trying to minimise the destruction of cultural property, whether through internal or international measures. Specifically in relation to implementing the 1954 Hague Convention and Protocol in wholly internal (or indeed in part internal - part external) armed conflicts, in the great majority of such cases there is a serious organisational and command imbalance, with what is at the very least a tolerably and well-organised government force facing a largely or wholly unorganised military opposition. Indeed, by definition if one side or the other lacks any form of discernable organisation the conflict may fall completely outside the laws of war, and hence the Hague Convention may be regarded as inapplicable. Even where a government and its defence force faces what is clearly an organised internal military force, governments may still refuse to acknowledge the fact.
13.22. In the case of the former Yugoslavia, long after the European Community, and soon afterwards the United Nations, had formally recognised the independence of Slovenia and Croatia the rump Yugoslav and the Serbian government continued to refuse to recognise these as independent states, and hence considered the military operations to be on the one hand internal actions against illegal uprisings, or on the other hand spontaneous defensive measures and reprisals by the civilian population, frightened for their own lives in the face of what Serb propaganda claimed were racially inspired attacks by Catholic `neo-nazis' within the Croat population or `Islamic fundamentalist' Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In response the victims of Serb `Chetnik' atrocities insist that all casualties of the war, whether human or property, are the victims of deliberate genocide.
13.23. The power of the media, especially when controlled or manipulated by either official or unofficial groups with a political, religious or other factional motive should not be underestimated. Though not classifiable as occurring in the course of an armed conflict, with the story of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, being followed on television by an estimated one-quarter of the whole Indian population it was probably not difficult for extremists with a combination of party political and religious motives to provoke the attack on the Ayodhya mosque, built nearly four centuries earlier on the site of a temple honouring what Hindu tradition identifies as the birthplace of the deity, Lord Rama, the central figure of the Ramayana.
13.24. In the context of what is quite clearly an armed conflict, the BBC World Service's Central Europe correspondent, Mischa Glenny, also discusses the central role of propaganda in his recent book on the current Yugoslav war:
[all the] media in Yugoslavia, with a few dazzling exceptions, ... is a vital accomplice in the dissemination of falsehoods and the perpetuation of divisive myth which had turned one hapless narod against another equally innocent one. The only truth in the Yugoslav war is the lie.294
13.25. Some of the examples of Glenny's `divisive myth' are utterly bizarre, and yet are repeated with great confidence by not only the politically controlled official Serbian media, but by distinguished academics and leading cultural sector professionals. Among many such examples is the frequently repeated summer 1992 myth (or perhaps deliberate fabrication) claiming `on the highest authority' that the Government of Hungary had banned all archaeological excavations within its country, following the `discovery' on a pre-Roman site in central Hungary that the whole of the Hungary is really part of Serbia in historic and cultural terms. In such an atmosphere the independent, more rational media, if it is allowed to exist at all is routinely disadvantaged and starved of all practical resources.
13.26. Throughout the current wars in former Yugoslavia some local, independent, broadcasting stations have survived, and try to present a more balanced, and peace-promoting, position that the official mass media, but lack modern technical resources. However, in one recent case where, with the permission of the United Nations Sanctions Committee, modern, more powerful, transmitting, news-gathering and studio equipment was donated and despatched to such an independent anti-war station operating in Belgrade, it was all stolen by uniformed armed forces just minutes after the convoy carrying it entering Serbia, and is reported to have been used to set up an official television station serving the Serbian occupied areas of north-eastern Bosnia295.
13.27. Consequently, one of the most valuable roles that international organisations, such as UNESCO can undertake in such ethnic conflicts is to try to present independent, unbiased, news and other sources of information. In relation to the current Yugoslav conflicts in September 1992 UNESCO Radio prepared and distributed widely an excellent 41 minute English language radio programme on the destruction of Dubrovnik `Back to Dubrovnik: The Blood of the Stones', prepared and co-presented by UNESCO's Executive Radio Producer, Mrs Erin Faherty-Mella. This set out clearly its background, importance, the issues of international law, and including interviews with local people who were the victims of the unprovoked attacks on the undefended World Heritage List city, with journalists of several nationalities who had witnessed attacks, with cultural protection experts, and with the Director-General of UNESCO. With the co-operation of sympathetic transmission stations around the world (including an Italian station whose signal is received clearly in the former Yugoslavia, this was broadcast many times.
13.28. It is RECOMMENDED that in times of war and other armed conflict UNESCO should put additional resources into attempting to counter by all practicable means the prevailing negative cultural propaganda, particularly through the presentation of unbiased radio and television programmes both from ground stations and satellite.
13.29. Both UNESCO and the United Nations have a long and distinguished tradition of trying to develop respect for all peoples, in accordance with the founding principles of the United Nations and UNESCO Charters, and the Universal declaration of Human Rights. An important further milestone in this process was the 1986 decision of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights the initiate further practical measures against racial or ethnic exclusiveness or intolerance, hatred and terror, and for the development of respect for human rights, and the International Covenants on Human Rights, and called on all States to take the measures necessary to ensure the thorough investigation and the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of all war criminals and persons guilty of crimes against humanity296. The Commission further urged all States to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance and to encourage understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to the freedom of religion or belief297. In view of the horrendous events of the past 2½ years it is most ironic that the core of the Commission's original (and continuing) work through the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities was a draft declaration on the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, prepared and submitted by Yugoslavia298.
13.30. In response to this initiative the December 1986 meeting of the U.N. General Assembly condemned `all ideologies and practices based on racial, ethnic or other exclusiveness or intolerance, hatred and terror'299 while, as indicated above, UNESCO has active specialist and cross-sectoral programmes working in the area as well.
13.31. Most recently, on 18 December 1992 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a far-reaching Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities300. The key responsibility is that:
1. States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories, and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.
2. States shall adopt appropriate legislative and other measures to achieve these ends.301
13.32. The Declaration specifically invites all `the relevant organisations and bodies of the United Nations ... to give due regard to the Declaration within their mandates', and later declares that:
the specialized agencies and other organisations of the United Nations system shall contribute to the full realization ... within their respective fields of competence302.
13.33. One of the highest priorities for all international and national bodies in relation to both immovable and movable cultural property, and especially for UNESCO, must be to develop greater understanding of, and respect for, the great many different cultures and traditions of the different peoples of the world: majorities, minorities, home and foreign. Work towards this should include additional programmes of education and information for peoples of all ages, and especially within multi-ethnic and multicultural societies.
13.34. Some of the greatest losses in recent armed conflicts have been the result of deliberate damage and destruction of the cultural evidence of the existence of enemy, or indeed just different, peoples. UNESCO is therefore RECOMMENDED to develop further its measures for the promotion of mutual understanding of and of tolerance between all peoples, and to integrate within these the active promotion of respect for the cultures and cultural property of all peoples.
13.35. Though non-international armed conflicts fall quite unambiguously within the scope of the 1954 Hague Convention - and almost certainly under the restrictions on movement of cultural property under the 1954 Protocol as well, actually applying these provisions in such circumstances presents many practical problems.
13.36. First, there is the issue of definition: is there an `armed conflict' as defined or recognised under international humanitarian law at all? The experience of the past four decades (and indeed longer) shows that few governments are likely to rush to admit that their territory is subject to an `armed conflict' as defined in international law. Instead they argue that the problems are questions of lawlessness, internal or international terrorism and subversion of the legitimate power, requiring repression by the use of the full force of national law, and with the national defence forces, if they are involved, acting in support of the civil power rather than engaging in an `armed conflict'. This is especially so where a government faces a civil war of secession from the State, as with Nigeria in the 1970s, or over the past two years in Yugoslavia, where large sections of the rump Yugoslavia/Serb governments basically refuse to accept the legitimacy of the withdrawal of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia - Herzegovina from the former federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and hence the break-up and collapse of the once powerful Yugoslav State.
13.37. A second problem in trying to apply international humanitarian law, such as the Hague Convention of 1954, in such internal armed conflicts is the unbalanced nature of whatever military command or control structure as may exist. In particular there are frequently serious - perhaps insurmountable - practical and/or legal problems for international organisations, such as UNESCO, in attempting to communicate with the irregular force, and certainly there will be no possibility of working through Protecting Powers, let alone the appointment of Commissioners-General for Cultural Property. For example, UNESCO, not only as part of the United Nations system but also as an organisation ultimately governed by its Member States, cannot be seen to give any kind of de facto recognition to what the international community regards as an illegal or usurping regime.
13.38. To give just one example, on entirely understandable and justifiable grounds of international law, over a period of more than twenty years now UNESCO has found it impossible to make any significant progress in achieving the protection of important sites, monuments and collections in the northern part of Cyprus, where the self-proclaimed republic. This is still recognised only by Turkey, and the leader, Dr Rauf Denktash, demands some degree of formal recognition of his state and his government from the international community as the price of allowing any official international inspection or assistance. This is a condition that no organisation of the United Nations system could possible agree to, so there must be a very real risk of an indefinite prolonging of the present stalemate.
13.39. There seem to be only two possible ways of breaking out of the present deadlock. The first would be for the initiative to be taken by a non-governmental organisation, so that a political construction could not be placed on the external involvement. (At the present time a study is in progress on the possibility of developing some kind of a `Patrimoine sans Frontières'303 or `Red Cross for Culture' new international humanitarian organisation that could offer such assistance without any implication of international recognition of an outlawed regime.) The second possibility would be to take the view that the culture, and especially the physical symbols of it, is now such a key part of the identity of peoples that urgent assistance to protect this should be regarded as legitimate humanitarian aid, which might be offer and received, even from international organisations such as UNESCO, on a purely humanitarian basis, without any implication of recognition of the administration of the country or region assisted. Indeed, at an even more philosophical level, it could be argued that the only grounds for any international involvement in the protection of the immovable and movable cultural property within the territory of a Sovereign State is that such property is regarded as part of the patrimony of all of humanity, not just of that State. On that basis essential urgent assistance should be viewed as serving all the peoples of the world and not just those of the State in question, whether or not its current Administration is recognised internationally.