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Amnesty International issues travel warning for US

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The human rights organization warns gun violence has led to a “human rights crisis” in the US. The killings of 31 people in attacks at the weekend have renewed pressure on President Trump to strengthen gun controls.

Amnesty International today issued a travel warning calling for possible travelers and visitors to the United States to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence, which has become so prevalent in the United States that it amounts to a human rights crisis. It aims to hold up a mirror to the U.S. using the model of the United States Department of State’s travel advice for U.S. travelers to other countries.

“Travelers to the United States should remain cautious that the country does not adequately protect people’s right to be safe, regardless of who they might be. People in the United States cannot reasonably expect to be free from harm – a guarantee of not being shot is impossible,” said Ernest Coverson, campaign manager for the End Gun Violence Campaign at Amnesty International USA. “Once again, it is chillingly clear that the U.S. government is unwilling to ensure protection against gun violence.”

The travel advisory addressed growing gun violence, mostly hate crimes, including racism and discrimination, highlighting that the traveler’s race, country of origin, ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity may place them at higher risk after recent attacks linked to white supremacist ideology.

People hug at St Pius X Church at a vigil for victims after a mass shooting which left at least 20 people dead on August 3, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Police are probing the shooting in El Paso as a hate crime. PHOTO | MARIO TAMA | GETTY IMAGES | AFP 

The action called attention to the extent to which all aspects of life in the United States have been compromised in some way by unfettered access to guns, without comprehensive and uniform regulation of their acquisition and use. By prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights, the U.S. government is willfully and systematically failing on multiple levels and ignoring its international obligations to protect people’s rights and safety.

Amnesty International has been calling for common sense reform regarding the use and possession of firearms, including comprehensive background checks, national regulations for registering and licensing firearms, required training, a ban on high capacity magazines/assault weapons, and mandatory safe-storage laws. Amnesty International USA’s campaign to end gun violence has focused efforts on passing S.42., the Assault Weapons ban, and the Disarm Hate Act.

What the travel warning said

Coverson said that “gun violence has become so prevalent in the US that it amounts to a human rights crisis.” The advisory warned travelers to the US:

  • To remain cautious that the country does not adequately protect people’s right to be safe.
  • To avoid places where many people congregate, including shopping malls, schools and places of worship.
  • To exercise extreme caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs and casinos.
  • That their race, country of origin, ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity may place them at higher risk.

Background 

A report by Amnesty International, “In the Line of Fire: Human Rights and the U.S. Gun Violence Crisis” examined how all aspects of American life have been compromised in some way by the unfettered access to guns, with no attempts at meaningful national regulation.

Last month, Amnesty International published a report examining how survivors of gun violence in the United States suffer years of trauma and pain due to a destructive combination of government policies which ignore their needs.

©2019 Amnesty Intl USA



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