AIA Ethics Reform: Ending Design for Torture and Killing

 

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 torture and killing. In the United States, this comprises the design of execution chambers and super-maximum security prisons (“supermax”), which inflict torture through long-term solitary isolation. 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 torture and killing 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.

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 as a violation. 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.

Please join ADPSR’s request to the AIA by signing our petition here and visit their website at http://www.adpsr.org/home/ethics_reform.

Join our Facebook group to stay informed of progress towards reform here.

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