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Declaration – Architects Against Apartheid - 3 April 1986

Preamble

The Declaration of Architects adopted by the International Union of Architects (UIA) in 1981 at Warsaw embodies as a first principle a Declaration of Human Rights.

This was affirmed by the Institute of South African Architects' (ISAA) delegate at the Congress In 1981, and some four years later the first principle was "unanimously adopted" by the ISAA Congress held in October 1985. Similar resolutions were unanimously adopted by the National Board of the ISAA in November 1985 and at various provincial and regional Annual General Meetings thereafter.

To date the adoption of these "resolutions" has been ineffectual and is mere window dressing. If the profession wishes to be taken seriously in its commitment to the basic principles of human rights embodied In the First Principles, then these should be Incorporated into the constitution of the ISAA. Only then will the boundaries of ethical conduct become meaningful and clearly defined, as thereafter no professional body of architects nor any individual member of the profession will, with impunity, be able to be associated with any violation of human rights in the course of his/her professional work.

In the belief that our conduct should be formalized, we hereby resolve to amend, by addition rather than deletion, the definition of "ethics" contained in Clause E of the Constitution and Rules of the Institute of South African Architects.

Resolution

The following principles, specifically relating to conditions in our country must be Incorporated into the constitution of the Transvaal Provincial Institute (TPI) and, mutatis mutandis, into the constitution of the ISAA.

  • "We acknowtodge the basic needs and rights of people"
  • Each individual has biological, intellectual, spiritual, social and economic needs. There are equally important and must be pursued simultaneously, as a matter of right of every human being.
  • Each society as a whole has rights to its identity and the continuity of its indigenous culture. (To clarity, In relation to this country: the rights of identity and the continuity of indigenous culture are voluntary processes not to be externally enforced, nor to be used to divide people against one another, nor to exclude the rights of others.)
  • Human settlements must provide a framework of freedom, dignity, equality and social justice. Their planning should include citizen participation and reflect full respect for all needs and rights, taking into account the necessity for balanced development in harmony with nature.
  • Improvement of the quality of life for all people should be the objective of every programme for human settlement. These programmes must meet the basic needs for food, shelter, clean water, employment, health, education, training and security without discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, ideology, national origin social origin
  • For the majonty of the world's population these needs have not been met, therefore architects and planners should assume their share of the responsibility for meeting these needs in the process of shaping human environment.

(These clauses represent the Human Rights Declaration as signed at Warsaw. The sections in heavy type is our clarification.)

We recognize that there are serious infringements of the above principles In our own country and we categoricaly reject the following violations of human rights as they affect the pursuit of architecture within the constraints of legalized discrimination imposed by the statutory apartheid structure of our country. We therefore resolve that it is unethical for any architect to participate professionally in:

  • Administration of apartheid: The design and planning of any building(s) or environment commissioned by or intended to house the administration of the apartheid system, such as State and Local Government office Administration Boards,"Own Affairs", Tricameral parliaments or any variant thereof (at any level) under whatever name it may choose to operate.
  • Enforcement of apartheid: The design and planning of any building(s) or environment intended to house the administration of any agency of the state which denies the citizen of this country (or the "citizen" of any "homeland") freedom of speech, the protection of the law, the principle of habeas corpus, or which is engaged in the divestment of civil liberties.
  • Implementation of apartheid: The design or planning of any pubic building(s) or environment located in areas designated as "homelands", "self-governing slates", or by any other name which shall from time to time be allocated to geographical reserves for a particular "population group". These areas (reserves) are inventions and creations of the apartheid structure and fragment further the social fabric of the country and its people.
  • The design or planning of any building(s) environment which is restricted to a particular "racial group", or where race is a criterion for use or occupancy, or where admission is restricted on the basis of race, colour or creed.
  • The design and planning of housing and community service facilities without the participation and consent of those affected, or where the system of population control and forced "relocation" denies the citizen the freedom of choice to live where he pleases or to change, from time to time, at his own volition, his place of residence.
  • Slum clearance, demolition, Urban Renewal and rebuilding, where the existing community is denied the right of tenure; and/or which is planned for the purpose of, or has the consequence of, removing by coercion or force the existing community in order to replace one with another; or where "race" is a criterion in that process; or where divestment of freehold rights may occur.
  • The design and planning of any structure or environment where standards are varied according to "racial group".

Architectural and other education in this country continues to be subordinated to the apartheid stricture. Therefore:

  • All universities which do not have an open and non-racial admissions policy shall be given until the end of the 1986 academic year to pronounce formally that they will adopt a non discriminatory admissions policy, failing which no future graduates of such universities shall be accepted into membership of the Institute.
  • No member of the Institute shall be involved in any way in teaching or in providing educational guidance in architecture at an institution which has not complied with the requirements of the above clause.

In our belief that we must assume our share of responsibly in the process of shaping a human environment for all the people of South Africa, the ISAA shall take affirmative action and:

  • Establish and operate architectural "clinics" in deprived and impoverished areas, the purpose of which shall be to assist the focal population in resolving building and environmental problems and, in so doing, upgrade their physical, spiritual and social well-being.
  • Adopt "affirmative action" in its attitudes and activities to promote and improve the lot of the free franchised people of South Africa. To this end, a committee comprising concerned architects and representatives of the affected communities shall be formed to advise the ISAA, the public and private sectors and the Government on specific affirmative action programmes.
  • The ISAA shall commence immediately an "educational affirmative action programme" specifically tailored to advance members of those communities who have been denied access to the study of architecture by a policy of academic exclusion, or because of the shortcomings of "their" educational system. This shall include an awareness programme to enlighten the young to the function of the practice of architecture.