Amnesty International issues warning about travel to US amid 'high levels of gun violence'

Amnesty International issued a global warning to those traveling to the United States after violence left 31 people dead in two mass shootings last weekend.

The travel advisory, issued Wednesday afternoon, calls for visitors to "exercise caution and have an emergency contingency plan when traveling throughout the USA."

It warns travelers to remain vigilant at all times and to avoid places where large groups congregate, including places of worship, schools or nightclubs, all locations that have been targeted recently.

"Depending on the traveler's gender identity, race, country of origin, ethnic background, or sexual orientation, they may be at higher risk of being targeted with gun violence, and should plan accordingly," the advisory adds.

The human rights groups issued the travel warning in midst of "high levels of gun violence," which Amnesty International referred to as a human rights crisis.

Foreign countries have taken similar actions to protect their citizens by issuing warnings to travelers who have plans or are currently visiting America.

The Venezuelan government issued a statement urging its citizens to postpone trips to the U.S. after the “recent acts of violence.”

The news release advises that Venezuelans stay away from cities that have the most violence, citing a 2019 Forbes article that lists the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Those cities were Cleveland; Detroit; Baltimore; St. Louis; Oakland, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta; Stockton, California; and Buffalo, New York.

Also in Latin America, the Uruguayan government issued a similar release that urges its citizens to take precautions when visiting the U.S. because of its “increasing indiscriminate violence” and hate crimes fueled by “racism and discrimination that cost the lives of more than 250 people in the first seven months of this year.”

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The Uruguayan notice specifically advises to avoid places that have a large concentration of people such as theme parks, malls, art festivals, religious activities, food festivals, sports events and mass protests.

The alerts from the two Latin American countries come after it was discovered that the El Paso shooting suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, had posted a manifesto to an online message board saying that the massacre was in response to an “invasion” of Hispanics across the southern border.

The Japanese Consul in Detroit published an alert Sunday that said Japanese citizens “should be aware of potential for gunfire” everywhere in the U.S., which they described as a “gun society,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times reported that other countries have issued travel warnings in the past because of gun violence in the U.S. such as France, New Zealand and Germany.

The attacks over the weekend occurred 1,300 miles apart at a packed shopping center in El Paso, Texas, and a popular nightlife complex in Dayton, Ohio. The El Paso and Dayton killings have contributed to 2019 being an especially deadly year for mass killings in the U.S.

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A database by The Associated Press, USA TODAY and Northeastern University shows there have been 23 mass killings so far this year, claiming the lives of 131 people. By comparison, 140 people died in mass killings in all of 2018. The database tracks every mass killing in the country dating back to 2006.

There have been more than 250 mass shootings in which four or more people were killed or wounded in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amnesty joins countries issuing US travel warning over mass shootings