In 2011, United Nations bodies determined that long-term solitary isolation is a form of torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment prohibited by international law, and made special reference to the United States use of supermax prisons and juvenile solitary confinement as violations. All international human rights bodies have also long included abolition of the death penalty as a necessary ultimate step in realizing human rights. AIA‘s code of ethics already includes the statement “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors,” but this standard is unenforceable without reference to international human rights standards. Adding enforceable language to the AIA Code can help redress the problems caused by buildings that embody human rights violations.
Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) is asking the American Institute of Architects to amend its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to prohibit the design of spaces for killing, torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In the United States, this comprises the design of execution chambers; super-maximum security prisons (“supermax”), where solitary confinement is an intolerable form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; and solitary confinement facilities for juveniles and the mentally ill. As people of conscience and as a profession dedicated to improving the built environment for all people, we cannot participate in the design of spaces that violate human life and dignity. Participating in the development of buildings designed for killing, torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is fundamentally incompatible with professional practice that respects standards of decency and human rights. AIA has the opportunity to lead our profession in upholding human rights.
* this campaign is fully described at www.adpsr.org - click on "Ethics Reform"
** You do not need to be an architect to sign this petition, and it is very valuable for AIA to hear from the general public on this issue. If you are an AIA member, please include "AIA Member" in the "Why is this important to you" field.