Peace & Justice: Prisoners' rights - human rights
ADVANCING EQUAL JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IS OUR GOAL - HELP THE MEMBERS OF THE ITALIAN COALITION KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
Human rights work depends on the voluntary efforts and goodwill of activists and concerned citizens.
When the Italian Coalition was founded in 1997, the founding members decided that all the members of the association – including themselves - should be unpaid volunteers, which means that nobody has ever received and won't ever receive money for their work on the national territory (and abroad).
Until not long ago, we were able to self-finance our trips to the USA. But sadly today, as a consequence of the financial and economic crisis in our country, the war, the pandemic, the lack of work and the lack of regional, state, and private funding, we are forced to seek help, because unfortunately we are no longer able to finance this kind of projects by our own efforts and means only.
Hence the need for collecting funds in order to continue to effectively achieve the positive results that we have been achieving for so many years, which have undoubtedly helped raise awareness and educate the public on crime prevention and on what can and should be done to stay human even in a violent society.
The goal that we would like to achieve is a trip to Texas in the last two weeks of August 2023 to visit some prisoners detained in the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston.
In addition to the visits with them, we are organizing meetings with their lawyers to look into their cases and, among other things, we are planning to attend a series of conferences and meetings in schools and universities on the ground. We are also planning to meet the representatives of some of the murder victims' families that work in defense of human rights and different anti-capital punishment organizations to take stock of the situation, share information and goals.
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SPEND THE DONATIONS ON?
Firstly, donations will be used to cover our travel, accommodation and subsistence costs.
The remaining money will be used for the preparation of the events and the educational material to be used during our conferences and meetings in Texas (fact-based videos, dossiers in paper and so on).
Each small donation can help us reach our goal to spread awareness among the general public about the respect of human rights and, above all, on “staying human”.
WHO WE ARE
The founding members of the Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Onlus are the following: MICHELA MANCINI, ARIANNA BALLOTTA, GIANCARLO LIGUORI, BIAGIO SANTORO, ALESSANDRA RUBERTI. Over the years, others have joined the ICADP and are now members of the BoD: CHIARA SILVA, FRANCESCO POSTIGLIONE, STILJAN RROKAJ. Unfortunately, we cannot all travel to Texas this coming August. To those who won't be able to be with us we say “thank you” for the huge amount of work you will be doing here in our absence. Together we will win!
ARIANNA BALLOTTA is a sociologist, freelance interpreter and translator and a passionate human rights defender. She has been the president of the Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Onlus since its foundation in 1997.
She collaborates in various ways with different national and international organizations and associations working to achieve the full realization of human, political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights of each individual. She has actively participated in several TV / radio broadcasting on human and civil rights, writes articles for different traditional and online media and gives talks, lectures and interviews to raise awareness around the application of the death penalty worldwide.
She has been visiting Death Row prisoners in the Unites States of America for many years.
In January 2007 in Austin (Texas) she was the recipient of an Appreciation Award for her work with both the Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty ( https://tcadp.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/spring.pdf ).
In 2005, with Mirella Santamato and Pietro Santoro, she wrote the book “Texas Death Row Hotel: storia di un condannato a morte americano” (Phoebus edizioni), where she tells the true and tragic story of Richard Wayne Jones, a man executed by the State of Texas despite his consistent claims of innocence. She has adopted Richard's motto “TOGETHER WE WILL WIN!”.
This is a link to a meeting we had in a school with Karl Guillen: https://fb.watch/jfgaCethzB/
MICHELA MANCINI, entrepreneur, has been the Vice President of the Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Onlus since its foundation in 1997. In her region, Campania (where the Coalition has its legal headquarters), she is responsible for coordinating the activities of the association, organizing educational and training activities in schools, churches, private bodies and different associations.
She also takes care of planning, organizing and realizing public educational events. In 1998 and again in August 2000 she witnessed an execution through lethal injection in Texas, USA (she was the first Italian woman to witness an execution in Texas). She has participated in different TV and radio shows, she helds conferences in Italian and English and works in various capacities with different national and international associations, both in Italy and abroad.
She has been corresponding with and visiting US American Death Row prisoners since 1993, thus favoring their personal path of growth.
She has taken part in the Journey of Hope in Texas, together with Arianna Ballotta, several times, in the belief that the fight against the death penalty is the fight of civilization against barbarity and that it can only happen if we work together.
A world of greater justice and solidarity for each individual, their nationality, color or religion notwithstanding, is what we are working for.
CHIARA SILVA, entrepreneur, has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Onlus for many years. At the age of 15, after reading a letter written by a Texas Death Row prisoner and published by Amnesty International, she becomes interested in human rights and capital punishment. After becoming aware of the Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Onlus in 1997, she decides to meet some members and the Board of Directors of the Coalition. She attends just one of their meetings and immediately decides she wants to be part of this group of people. Later she would say that that first meeting was “powerful, illuminating and very educational, both because of the knowledge of the subject demonstrated by the members, and - most of all - because of their human warmth”. She has been actively working within the Coalition since then.
She organizes educational events and corresponds with several Death Row prisoners, whom she visits whenever possible. She witnessed 2 executions.
STILJAN RROKAJ teaches history and philosophy at a local high school and is member of the board of the Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Onlus. He has been dealing with human rights and capital punishment for about 20 years and is a strong supporter of Article 26.2 of the UDHR which states the role of educators in achieving the social order called for by the declaration, i.e.: “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”. His students love his lessons.
He also corresponds with a D/R prisoner in Texas.
WHAT WE DO
The Italian Coalition to Abolish the Penalty Onlus is entirely formed by qualified volunteers who have been dedicating their time to human rights education to Italian and foreign citizens for over 20 years.
We support the universal abolition of the death penalty and are committed to pursuing this goal and that is why we play an important role in educating the public on the use of the death penalty worldwide.
We pay particular attention to the situation in the United States of America, the only Western democracy that still uses capital punishment as a means of punishment.
We regularly go to the USA, where our activity mainly consists in:
- Visiting death row prisoners, their families and their lawyers, whenever possible.
- Organizing and participating in educational seminars on the death penalty and human rights giving also an International/European perspective, on our activities in Italy and on our experience with prisoners (not only D/R prisoners) in schools of all types and levels, public and private institutions, churches and different associations which so request.
- Undertaking information and educational campaigns with partner organizations that work in defense of human rights on the ground, without forgetting the precious collaboration with the associations of murder victims families for reconciliation who oppose the death penalty in all cases being an inhumane measure that abases human dignity.
The first-hand experience of the reality of the death penalty in Texas enables us not only to put a face to the name and number of each D/R prisoner that we are in contact with, but also to follow a shared vision of a world without capital punishment where human dignity and the right to life of each individual are respected.