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Amnesty International issues travel warning for US

Joshua Stein
August 8, 2019

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.

El Paso memorial
Image: Getty Images/AFP/M. Ralston

Human rights organization Amnesty International issued a travel warning for the US on Thursday, citing "rampant gun violence” in the country.

Amnesty said the US government was guilty of "prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights," and thereby failed to protect people living in and traveling to the US. 

Campaign manager for the End Gun Violence campaign at Amnesty International USA Ernest Coverson told DW the US "should be held accountable" for the threat posed by gun violence to people's livelihoods.

What the travel warning said

Coverson added 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.
Families mourn in El Paso
Families in El Paso and Dayton mourned the deaths of 31 people. Police are probing the shooting in El Paso as a hate crime.Image: Getty Images/AFP/M. Tama

Recent attacks

The warning comes just days after two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio killed 31 people. Both alleged perpetrators used legally obtained weapons to maim and kill people in the attacks.

The El Paso suspect is believed to have published a "race manifesto" online, in which he spoke of a "Hispanic invasion." The attack is being treated as a hate crime.

Hate has no place in America

US President Donald Trump visited El Paso and Dayton on Wednesday, and condemned the racially motivated murders, declaring "hate has no place in America." 

But he added "mental illness and hatred pull the trigger. Not the gun." Protesters in El Paso and Dayton said the president's anti-immigrant rhetoric bore some blame for the violence.

Former Democratic representative for Texas Beto O'Rourke said Trump had "helped to create the hatred that made Saturday's tragedy possible."

Rampant gun violence

American gun violence has killed 8,928 people in 2019 alone, according to US non-profit organization Gun Violence Archive. That figure includes 398 children under the age of 12.

The organization has recorded over 33,000 incidents of gun violence in the US in 2019 so far. Campaigners have repeatedly called for gun laws to be tightened in the US.

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