The UN human rights office on Tuesday (June 14) urged the leadership in the United States of America to live up to its obligations to protect its citizens from the “horrifyingly commonplace but preventable violent attacks that are the direct result of insufficient gun control.”
This is in the aftermath of the mass killing of 49 people by a gunman in a gay nightclub in Florida.
The Quoting the High Commissioner (HC), Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Rupert Colville, said in a press conference, “It is hard to find a rational justification that explains the ease with which people can buy firearms, including assault rifles, in spite of prior criminal backgrounds, drug use, histories of domestic violence and mental illness, or direct contact with extremists – both domestic and foreign.”
He said “how many more mass killings of school-children, of co-workers, of African-American churchgoers — how many more individual shootings of talented musicians like Christina Grimmie, or politicians like Gabrielle Giffords, will it take before the United States adopts robust gun regulation? Why should any civilian anywhere be able to acquire an assault rifle or other high-powered weapons designed to kill lots of people?”
A new UN human rights report on the civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms highlights the “devastating impact” of gun violence on a host of human rights, including the rights to life, security, education, health, an adequate standard of living and participation in cultural life.
Colville said, “The protection of human rights must be central to the development of laws and regulations regarding the availability, transfer and use of firearms.
“UN and regional human rights experts have long recommended that firearm control measures must include adequate background check systems, the periodic review of licenses, clear gun removal policies when intervening in domestic violence cases, mandatory training, and the criminalization of illegal sale of firearms, among other measures.”
According to the High Commissioner, “Examples from many countries clearly show that a legal framework to control the acquisition and use of firearms has led to a dramatic reduction in violent crime.
“In the United States, however, there are hundreds of millions of guns in circulation, and every year thousands of people are killed or injured by them.”
He added that it was “particularly reprehensible – indeed dangerous – that this terrible event is already being utilized to promote homophobic and Islamophobic sentiments.
He urged everyone in the United States “to ensure that the human rights, and consequently the security, of all are strengthened in the aftermath of this horrendous incident.”