By Christian Donny Putranto
This article provides an overview of the 8th Regional Conference on International Humanitarian Law in Asia-Pacific, which carried the umbrella theme of protection of cultural property. Co-hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Regional Conference served as an avenue for the participating States to discuss and exchange views as well as good practices on the comprehensive protection of cultural property. The sub-themes covered during the Regional Conference were inter alia the international protection regime of cultural property, how cultural property is protected in times of emergency such as armed conflict or natural disaster, the importance of national implementation to protect cultural property, and the roles of government agencies and non-government organisations in protecting cultural property both at national, regional, and international levels. Besides sessions on the cultural property protection, the participating States also commemorated the seventieth year of the 1949 Geneva Conventions adoption by reflecting the relevance and importance of international humanitarian law to the Asia-Pacific region, and they were briefed on the thirty-third International Conference of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. In addition, this article will outline several concluding recommendations from the ICRC and the UNESCO which may be useful in assisting efforts to protect cultural property in various contexts.
Keywords: cultural property protection, international humanitarian law, national implementation, Geneva Conventions