This website presents the outcomes of the project Implementing the 1954 Hague Convention and its
        two protocols to protect heritage sites in occupied territories of Georgia, implemented jointly by the
        Georgian National Committee of Blue Shield, members of the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property
        Protection and Peace at Newcastle University’s School of Arts and Cultures and the Didi Liakhvi
        Valley Museum Reserve. It was funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Fund
        (reference ES/M500513/1) through Newcastle University.

        The project aimed to investigate the damage to cultural heritage in Georgia’s Tskhinvali region in
        light of the primary international legislation designed to regulate the protection of cultural heritage
        in conflict - the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed
        Conflict, and its two Protocols (1954, 1999), applicable during situations of conflict and occupation.

        The website features the Report on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law with
        regards to the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Occupied Tskhinvali Region, Georgia, its
        comprehensive Annex detailing the damage to each site and the sources of information, and an
        online database with a map-based visualization platform containing registered cultural heritage sites
        across the entire Tskhinvali Region.

        Damage to cultural heritage in the Tskhinvali Region is significant, and occurs for many reasons. This
        report has analysed over 700 sites and examined national and international actions to protect the
        region’s heritage. Using multi-source analysis that includes eyewitness reports, interviews, media,
        social media, published NGO and IO reports, and satellite imagery assessment via Google Earth and
        published reports by UNOSAT-UNITAR, it demonstrates that damage was incurred not only during
        the hostilities in 2008, but has continued since and still continues today. Following the fighting, other
        factors include illegal interventions causing alteration of the historic fabric of sites, construction of
        military facilities and other new infrastructure in close proximity to the sites, alongside general
        neglect. These pose serious risks to the preservation of the cultural heritage of the region.
        The slow attrition of Georgian cultural heritage forms part of a wider narrative of loss. The lives of
        the people who owned and used the cultural heritage - whose ancestors may have built the sites,
        who visited them, who worshipped in the churches and the synagogue - are deeply impacted by the
        conflict in ways that move beyond their immediate needs. Not only have they lost access to their
        sites, but their traditions and practices and ways of living that have been passed down through
        generations are disrupted, and in some cases at risk of permanent loss. The demolition of historic
        Georgian villages, loss of authentic fabric at sites, and modification of churches, is part of a wider
        revision of the entire landscape, also evidenced in the alteration of place names, and revision of
        historical and religious narratives.

        Actions to protect and maintain heritage are hindered by lack of access; monitoring is extremely
        difficult. Since the early 1990s and especially in the years since 2008, given the political deadlock and
        lack of access, it has been - and remains - impossible for Georgia to make any progress in
        implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention in safeguarding and preserving its cultural property.
        Based on a detailed analysis of the situation of the region’s cultural heritage, this report concludes
        with a series of recommendations to improve protection, covering not only the implementation of
        international law, but good practice.

        Team of Authors:

        Manana Tevzadze (Georgian National Committee of the Blue Shield), Salome Meladze and Badri
        Gasparov (Didi Liakhvi Valley Museum-Reserve), Emma Cunliffe (part of the UNESCO Chair in Cultural
        Property Protection and Peace, Newcastle University)

        Research Assistants: Tamar Sopromadze (Georgian National Committee of the Blue Shield), Yasaman
        Nabati and Lynn Edwards (part of the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace,
        Newcastle University)

        *     *     *     *     *

        Authors’ Note:

        The authors would like to note that both the website and the report are still a work in progress and
        updates to both shall take place periodically. We would be most grateful for your feedback and
        continued visits.

        Full Report