News of the Branch

18.11.2011

Museum named after Nicholas Roerich Hosted Seminar Dedicated to Cultural Heritage Preservation with Participation of the International Committee of the Red Cross

The Seminar «Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and Other Emergency Situations» was held on November 15th, 2011 at the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow.

Mr. Francois Bugnion, Member of the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross

The Seminar was organised by the initiative of the International Committee of the Red Cross in cooperation with the International Centre of the Roerichs and All-Russian Society for Protection of Monuments of History and Culture. The Seminar was attended by the following representatives of the international public organisations: Mr. Francois Bugnion, Member of the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross (Switzerland); Mr. Juan Luis Coderque Galligo, Head of Regional Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross in Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine; Ms. Maria Teresa Dutli, Regional Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross; Ms. Liubava Moreva, Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO Office in Moscow; Ms. Marga Koutsarova, Director of the Bulgarian Branch of the International Centre of the Roerichs, Chairperson at the "National Roerich Society" in Bulgaria; Ms. Galina I. Malanicheva, Chairperson of the Central Council of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments; Prof. Alexey V. Postnikov, President of the International Centre of the Roerichs; representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Ministry of Justice of Russia, Ministry of Culture of Russia and others.

The participants of the Seminar discussed the problems connected with observance in Europe and Russia of the Hague Convention of 1954 on protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict. They also discussed issues connected with the second Protocol of the Convention of 1999 that provides enhanced protection of cultural objects of exceptional cultural and historical value for all humanity. Until now this international document has not been ratified by the Russian Federation in spite of the fact that this issue had been discussed many times on different levels.


Ms. Marga Koutsarova, Chairperson at the «National Roerich Society

The Seminar was opened with a greeting speech by Prof. Alexey V. Postnikov, President of the International Centre of the Roerichs. He emphasized that organising such a seminar in the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich is deeply symbolic because the idea of cultural heritage protection embodied in the Roerich Pact belongs to Nicholas Roerich, Russian philosopher, artist and public figure. Participants were also welcomed by Mr. Juan Luis Coderque Galligo,Head of Regional Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross in Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Mr. Galligo outlined the theme of the seminar as the raising of public awareness to implementation into the Russian legislation the international humanitarian law in its entirety. Ms. Liubava M. Moreva,Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO Office in Moscow, noted that the Roerich Pact belongs to the future and its provisions are relevant nowadays. The Roerich Pact shows that culture and creative work is the true basis for lasting peace.

Mr. Francois Bugnion, Member of the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross, made a report “Roots of Cultural Property Protection and the Role of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Protection of Cultural Heritage by Improving Personal Protection”. In his report he emphasized that wars and armed conflicts aimed at destroying the authenticity of the enemy as well as its culture and historical memory. Therefore it is a form of genocide. Mr. Bugnion also noted that protection of cultural heritage closely connected with protection of national identity and dignity. That is why the International Committee of the Red Cross includes in its programmes more provisions on protection of cultural heritage. Mr. Bugnion told participants about the resolution adopted on this issue by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He also noted the increasing role played by the ICRC, in cooperation with UNESCO, in encouraging ratification and implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols. At the end of his speech Mr. Bugnion emphasised the tremendous importance of Nicholas Roerich heritage, since the 1954 Convention is '...clearly a child of the Roerich Pact'.

Ms. Marga Koutsarova,Chairperson at the "National Roerich Society" in Bulgaria, elaborated on the issues of the international humanitarian law development from the Roerich Pact (serving as the basis for the international legal system for protection of cultural property) to the Hague Convention of 1954. Comparing the contents of the Roerich Pact and the Hague Convention she focused on the extremely high level of cultural property protection provided by the Roerich Pact. It provides unconditional protection of historical monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions and their personnel in time of piece as well as during wartime. Speaking about the Hague Convention Ms. Koutsarova emphasized that the second Protocol (1999) of the Convention provides “enhanced protection” for cultural items listed in the “Register of Cultural Property under Enhanced Protection”. As a specialist in the field of the international law she noted a great potential of Russia in development of the Roerich Pact ideas in the modern world.

Ms. Maria Teresa Dutli, Regional Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross

Ms. Maria Teresa Dutli, Regional Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross, announced a video film dedicated to the Switzerland experience in the field of preservation and protection of Cultural Property. She also represented to the participants topographical maps of Switzerland with marks of cultural objects under the State protection, and a reference book with a list of these objects. These reference books are intended for distribution in military establishments.
Ms. Galina I. Malanicheva, Chairperson of the Central Council of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments, told about problems in the field of cultural property preservation in Russian Federation and public participation in preservation and popularization of cultural objects. She also told about the necessity of close cooperation with international organizations.

The reports by Mr. Victor V. Frolov, Deputy Director-General for scientific work of the Museum named after N.K. Roerich; Mr. Alexander N. Lesovoy, Director of Grabar All-Russian Art, Scientific and Restoration Center, and Mr. Vasily F. Poryvaev, international law specialist were also of great interest to the seminar participants.

 


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