The time is right for adopting a framework for the protection of cultural heritage. 

The J. Paul Getty Trust, prompted by the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, is enlisting the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect to engage in an educational campaign for the protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones. 

The campaign seeks to raise awareness of UN Member States regarding the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its additional protocols, as well as recent resolutions by the UN Security Council. 

To that end, the J. Paul Getty Trust has initiated a series of papers on culture at risk. 

PAPER NO. 2, 2018

Cultural Genocide and the Protection of Cultural Heritage, examines the various lenses through which the international community defines attacks on cultural heritage—legal, accountability, security, counterterrorism, and atrocity prevention—and proposes a sixth, cultural genocide, that can be used to recast the debate over how to best protect the world’s cultural heritage.


Edward C. Luck is Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice and Director of the Specialization in International Conflict Resolution, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University. From 2008 to 2012, he served as United Nations assistant secretary-general and as the first special adviser to the UN secretary-general for the responsibility to protect (R2P).

PAPER NO. 1, 2017

Cultural Cleansing and Mass Atrocities: Protecting Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict Zones, addresses the connection between cultural heritage and cultural cleansing, mass atrocities, and the destruction of cultural heritage. Pulling together various threads of discourse and research, Cultural Cleansing and Mass Atrocities outlines the issues, challenges, and options effecting change.


Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies. His most recent book, Would the World Be Better without the UN?, was published in March 2018. Nina Connelly is a research associate at the Ralph Bunche Institute of the City University of New York's Graduate Center, where she is researching international development and the United Nations.