who we are and why we do what we do
Become a member
Foundation of lifespark
Countries our members live in
Our mission and approach
WHO WE ARE …
lifespark is a non-profit organization, founded in 1993, with no religious or political affiliation. We are based in Switzerland, have members worldwide and pursue the vision of a world with human dignity being the fundamental and unconditional basis of societal systems. As organization, we want to take a stand against the death penalty which we consider a cruel form of punishment violating human rights, mainly by arranging penpalships with death row prisoners in the USA. Within the framework of democratic structures, our organizational work is done on a voluntary basis and financed by membership dues and donations. The organizational language is English; offers in other languages are based on members’ initiatives. All members are welcome to contribute their individual skills and interests in various tasks and projects.
… AND WHY WE DO ….
Humanity, equality, openness, respect as well as trustful dialogue and transparency are the values which define our attitude towards prisoners, members and our internal and external communication. In our stand against the death penalty and our attempt to contribute to its worldwide abolition, we are guided by
· the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948, not legally binding),
· the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976, legally binding)
· the EU-Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances
(2002, legally binding).
Death row inmates in the USA are a marginalized group, mostly living under circumstances beneath human dignity. We want to offer them companionship as well as means for exchange with the outside world, and contribute to an understanding and dialogue between prisoners and “free” people without classifying or advantaging particular individuals. This does not mean that we accept the crimes, nor do we expect our members to support inmates in addition to the correspondence – it is rather our emphasis to respect and appreciate prisoners in the first place as human beings. Our efforts are focused on the USA for practical reasons; contacts are easier due to the English language and the transparent judicial proceedings.
… WHAT WE DO
Setting up and supporting penpalships
Our main efforts encompass correspondences between our members and death row prisoners in the USA. We provide addresses of prisoners on a first come-first served basis; the course of each penpalship is in the responsibility of the people holding it. For our members, we offer personal help and support, thorough information and means for exchange about their experiences. So we are always looking for people who have a sincere encounter with prisoners on their heart.
Being part of the movement against the death penalty
As a member and supporter of several organizations that fight the death penalty, such as the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, we want to raise public awareness and provide general information about the death penalty. We also financially support other related organizations. We may forward petitions and campaigns related to executions, but it is not our expertise to create our own petitions or support campaigns (i.e. websites or quests for financial or legal support) for the benefit of individual inmates.