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Leiden Global Interactions Advanced Seminar: ‘Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law’

Monday 30 April 2018 - Wednesday 2 May 2018
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

‘Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law’

Leiden Global Interactions recently awarded a GIAS grant to Dr Amy Strecker (Faculty of Archaeology) and Dr Joseph Powderly (Grotius Centre) for their inter-faculty collaboration on ‘Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law.’

Central to the project is the convening of a high level advanced seminar in Leiden from 30 May to 2 May 2018. Amongst the primary objectives of the advanced seminar is to move beyond the usual focus of international law on the destruction and threat to heritage in the context of armed conflict, to also include an examination of heritage destruction in peacetime, and the role of human rights law in this regard.

Normative developments in international cultural heritage law increasingly advocate a human rights approach to heritage. Likewise in heritage studies, there has been a proliferation and assertion of ‘rights’ in relation to heritage protection. Yet ascertaining the exact nature of these rights remains a challenge, especially in terms of accessing justice for heritage destruction beyond the framework of international criminal law. For example, what happens when heritage is under threat in peacetime by the very state charged with its protection? Human rights are by nature limited by their focus on individual rights. Yet heritage is a collective good, and as such, cannot be measured in terms of personal injury in the same way that the loss of property can. As a consequence, it is difficult to make a case before a human rights court for heritage destruction, even though cultural heritage forms an inherent part of cultural rights. By scrutinizing the various areas of international law and governance dealing with heritage destruction, the advanced seminar hopes to consider creative ways as to how the protection of important heritage sites and landscapes can be advanced beyond rhetoric.

The symposium will begin in the afternoon of 30 April with a keynote address by Prof. Francesco Francioni on the question of, “Is International Law Ready for the Recognition of a General Obligation to Prevent and Avoid Destruction of Cultural Heritage?”. 

This event is funded by Leiden Global Interactions, with additional support from the LDE Centre for Global Heritage and Development.

You can find the programme underneath. If you would like to know more about the seminar please contact Dr Joseph Powderly and Dr Amy Strecker.


Programme Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law

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