Former Information Minister Emmanuel Bowier is urging government to ensure that Liberia forms part of the convention which seeks to protect cultural properties during armed conflict.
Bowier noted that being a part of such convention and other cultural treaties will give Liberia the opportunity to gain access to cultural properties as well as arts and craft materials which were taken away from Liberia to other parts of the world long ago.
Bowier made the call Wednesday at the start of a two-day awareness workshop on the 1954 Hague Convention on Cultural Property Protection held at the Ministry of information in Monrovia.
“There is a need for us as Liberians to encourage members of the House of Representatives and Senate and our President to finally let Liberia sign these conventions that will protect our cultural heritage,” Bowier said.
He stressed that if Liberia had signed the various conventions prior to the nation’s civil conflict, the country would have by now reaped the benefits, noting: “Museums and other cultural sites which were all ravaged during the civil conflict would have been protected or restored.”
Bowier observed that that Liberians in the past subscribed to the general belief that people of the nation were non-violent, something, according to him, that is partly responsible for Liberia’s reluctance to sign treaties as well as form part of conventions which seek to protect cultural properties.
Bowier believes that signing these conventions will not only be an act of liberation for Liberia’s cultural artifacts, but will also afford the nation the chance to establish a special national committee that will begin negotiations, especially with the United States of America, to return arts and crafts that were taken away.