The Federal Council concludes a headquarters agreement with the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas

Press release, 11.10.2017

The headquarters agreement between the Federal Council and the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) was signed on 11 October 2017 by Ambassador Roberto Balzaretti, head of the Directorate of International Law (DIL) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Federal Council, and by Maxence Langlois-Berthelot in his capacity as ALIPH's executive director ad interim. The establishment of ALIPH in Switzerland will strengthen Geneva's existing humanitarian network in an area where Switzerland plays a pioneering role.

The international community has become increasingly aware of the humanitarian and security aspects of the world's cultural heritage. A recent Security Council resolution stressed the need for action to protect the world's cultural heritage.

Founded in Geneva in March of this year, ALIPH aims to support the implementation of programmes to prevent the destruction of cultural property and of emergency measures to protect cultural property threatened with destruction, damage or looting as a result of armed conflict, as well as to contribute to rehabilitation efforts. ALIPH is thus a key platform in the fight against unlawful attacks on cultural heritage, both in terms of its ability to support projects and its potential for networking among intergovernmental partners, including UNESCO, and professional, academic and private stakeholders active in this area.

On the basis of the Host State Act, the Federal Council has decided to conclude a headquarters agreement conferring on ALIPH the same privileges and immunities normally granted to intergovernmental organisations. Switzerland will also provide ALIPH with financial support, having pledged to cover its rent and equipment costs over the next four years.

ALIPH's objectives are fully in line with Switzerland's policies on the protection of cultural property and the promotion of international humanitarian law. Switzerland's legislation in this field is among the most advanced, and its expertise is internationally recognised. ALIPH's presence in Geneva will also allow Switzerland to optimise coordination with the various stakeholders involved.

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