Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
April 1, 2014 – The Special Rapporteur on Torture has issued a statement in support of the NGO Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility’s (ADPSR) call for an end to designs that facilitate torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In his statement, the Special Rapporteur endorses ADPSR’s petition to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to amend its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to prohibit the design of spaces intended for prolonged solitary confinement, explaining that such a prohibition would be “a welcome step in advancing respect for human rights within civil society.” The Special Rapporteur explained that the design of prison environments can in general help meet human rights standards but that in some extreme cases, design may actually facilitate abuse. He elaborated that architects participate in shaping the experience of people in detention, and can therefore play a meaningful role in resolving the human rights problems caused by the practice of solitary confinement by prohibiting the design of spaces that leading to such cruel, inhuman, or degrading conditions. The Special Rapporteur’s full statement is available here, and a link to the ADPSR’s ethics petition is available here and via www.change.org.