Amnesty International warns against travelling to the US

Travellers to the United States should " exercise extreme caution... due to rampant gun violence", a prominent human rights organisation has warned.

There have been more than 250 incidents of gun violence in the US so far this year in which at least four people were shot (excluding the shooter) The deadliest happened within hours of each other earlier this week, with 22 killed in El Paso, Texas and 10 in Dayton, Ohio

Now Amnesty International has issued a travel warning to the US, saying it's suffering a "human rights crisis".

"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," said Amnesty's US gun violence campaign manager Ernest Coverson.

"Once again, it is chillingly clear that the US government is unwilling to ensure protection against gun violence."

There were 382 mass shootings in the US in 2016, 346 in 2017 and 340 in 2018 according to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive. Unlike in New Zealand in the wake of the Christchurch massacre in March, the US government has done little to curb gun violence. 

Amnesty says the US is "prioritising gun ownership over basic human rights" and "willfully and systematically failing on multiple levels and ignoring its international obligations to protect people’s rights and safety". 

Amnesty doesn't usually issue travel warnings - not even to places like Syria or Yemen - but has done so for the US to "hold up a mirror", with the US State Department currently warning Americans against travelling to places like Iran, despite the US having a 39 percent higher murder rate.

Other countries the US says to avoid, despite having lower murder rates, include Somalia and Sudan.

A report released by the human rights group in July outlined how victims of gun violence in the US are often forced to rack up huge debts to pay for their own care.



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