The Protection of Cultural Property in Africa: An Analysis of Policies and Practices

One area where armed conflict affects people’s past, present and future lives is in the destruction of cultural properties located within the area of conflict. Protecting cultural property, which represents peoples’ identities, becomes important while protecting and respecting individuals under the laws of war. In seeking to balance military objectives and the effects of war on humanity, international humanitarian law (IHL) limits the destruction with the doctrine of military necessity. Despite this, cultural property is still being damaged and destroyed in armed conflicts. There is a great need to examine African states’ participation in the 1954 Hague Convention and its protocols. Best practices of protecting cultural property during conflict and mitigation strategies during peace in Africa, in addition to steps taken by states and other stakeholders under the Second Protocol of the Hague Convention, will be considered. Equally apt is a consideration of the factors hindering the efficacy of the 1954 Hague convention and its protocols in African states. This policy will contribute, through its implementation, to the efforts made for the achievement of effective protection of Africa’s heritage.