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Published on Thursday, August 8, 2019

Amnesty International says no guarantee visitors won't be shot in US

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has taken the unprecedented step of warning travellers to the US of the risk of gun violence following a weekend of mass shootings that left 31 dead.

In a warning issued this week, Amnesty International said: "A guarantee of not being shot is impossible."

In El Paso, Texas, 22 people were shot and just a few hours later nine more people were killed in Dayton, Ohio.

Days earlier three people were shot dead at a food festival.

Amnesty International says gun violence is so rife in the US that it constitutes 'a human rights crisis'.

"The country does not adequately protect people's right to be safe, regardless of who they might be," said Ernest Coverson, campaign manager for Amnesty's End Gun Violence Campaign.

It also says a visitor's race, ethnic background, and gender identity may place them in a higher risk.

After the El Paso shooting, which targeted Latinos, Venezuela and Uruguay posted travel warnings of their own.

Numerous countries have also recently issued travel warnings including New Zealand, Germany, Japan and China.

However, the UK Foreign Office has not issued any specific travel warning. On the issue of gun violence, its travel advisory says: "Violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves tourists, but you should take care when travelling in unfamiliar areas.

"Avoid walking through less travelled areas alone, especially at night. You can find public advisories and information about recent incidents on the websites of local law enforcement authorities."

While mass shootings are not new, the perceived targeting of ethnic groups is a worry for US tourism.

It has also got Americans on edge.

A motorcycle engine backfired near Times Square in New York City, causing widespread panic.

Fearing the noise was another mass shooting in progress, the rush to flee led to a 'stampede' which injured 22.

Four people were taken to hospital.

Some even stormed inside a Broadway theatre to seek refuge during a production, which then led to panic among theatre-goers.

The production of 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' had to be cancelled.

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