Declaration on the protection of archives, libraries, museums and heritage places during armed conflicts and political instability

Statement_ICA_ICCROM_IFLA_ICOMOSAs we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention, the International Council of Archives (ICA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) express their deep concern about the escalating destruction of life and cultural heritage.


May 2024 marks the 70th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the first international treaty that focused exclusively on this issue. Today, at an increasing and alarming rate, many painful events have recently caused an immense loss of human life, and damage to the world’s cultural and documentary heritage.

The International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) express their profound concern about this escalating destruction of life and cultural heritage during armed conflict and political instability.

We abhor the loss of life and reaffirm the priority of protecting all people. We also deplore atacks and destruction of museums, archives, libraries and heritage places, as they are a vital and unique part of the culture of the peoples affected by the conflict. ICA, ICOM, ICOMOS and IFLA urge all parties involved in conflict to respect and protect all libraries, archives and museums and heritage places.

We recall that all cultural and documentary heritage is indispensable to the survival of our societies and that continuous international and cross-sectoral cooperation is essential for its effective protection. To this end, the four organizations formed the International Commitee of the Blue Shield in 1996, through which, among other, they work together to prepare for and respond to emergencies that may affect cultural heritage.

Throughout these emergency situations, our libraries, museums, archives and heritage places have demonstrated the important roles that they play in protecting and promoting tangible and intangible cultural heritage and in bringing communities together. Culture is an essential element for recovery and for promoting peace.

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