UN rights chief urges US to consider robust gun control while slamming Orlando killing

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UNITED NATIONS, June 14 (APP): In the wake of the mass killing of 49 people by a sole gunman in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the United Nations human rights chief Tuesday urged the U.S. leadership 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.”

“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,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al
Hussein 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?” he added, questioning the availability for civilians
anywhere of an assault rifle or other high-powered weapons designed to kill lots of people.

“Irresponsible pro-gun propaganda suggests that firearms make
society safer, when all evidence points to the contrary,” Zeid said.
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.

The report states that women and children are frequently found to
be victims of firearm-related violence, including through the use of guns
to commit rape and other sexual violence, abduction, assault and domestic violence.

It states that 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 others.

“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,” Zeid said. “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.”

Zeid added that it was particularly reprehensible – indeed dangerous
that this terrible event is already being utilized to promote homophobic
sentiments.

He urged everyone in the United States to rally around the common
cause of ensuring that the human rights, and consequentially the security, of all are strengthened in the aftermath of this horrendous incident.

“That is the least that is owed to the relatives of all those children, women and men whose lives have been snatched from them by
gunmen from a wide variety of backgrounds in the Orlando nightclub, at
the Sandy Hook Elementary School, at the Methodist Church in downtown Charleston, and at so many other homes, schools, colleges and other venues across the United States,” he said.