• Press Release

White House Gun Violence Convening Must Address Human Rights

May 24, 2016

MEDIA CONTACT: Mandy Simon, [email protected]  

(NEW YORK, NY) – As the White House hosts a 50-state convening on gun violence prevention for state and local officials today, Amnesty International USA’s (AIUSA) Senior Campaigner for Gun Violence and Criminal Justice, Jamira Burley released the following statement:

“Gun violence is a human rights crisis in the U.S. and every day, thousands of Americans live either under its threat or with the toll it has taken. Despite pleas from survivors, their families, and even President Obama, members of Congress and state legislators have long-ignored the demands to adopt much-needed reforms. We hope that those gathered today will use this opportunity to come up with concrete solutions to confront an issue that impacts so many here in the U.S.”

AIUSA noted that, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the U.S. government has clear and urgent obligations to protect the people living in this country from gun violence. But it has failed to take all measures necessary to prevent gun violence, including addressing the patchwork of inconsistent and inadequate federal and state gun control laws.

AIUSA called on President Obama directly to address gun violence as a human rights issue. In a letter to Obama ahead of the convening, Burley wrote:

“It’s important to recognize that the lack of sufficient action by the Federal Government to prevent gun violence has impacted the protection of human rights in the United States. In order to meet its obligations, the U.S. government must take action to prevent the violence that is putting so many rights in jeopardy.

“We ask that you take into consideration the human rights implications of gun violence and create domestic mechanisms that will allow the U.S. to meet its human rights obligations to prevent the loss of life, whether it be when a person is walking down the street, at school, or worshipping with their faith community. To ensure that human rights are at the center of the convening, we ask that a diverse group of constituents are invited, individuals who can speak to a wide range of drivers to violence, and who can bring a racial and economic justice lens to the discussion.”

The full letter can be found here: https://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/WhiteHouseLetter_GunConvening_May2016.pdf

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.