Amnesty International has released a scathing report into the United States’ response to gun violence, a report that New Zealand policy-makers can learn from.
In Scars of Survival: Gun Violence and Barriers to Reparation in the USA, survivors of gun violence in the US tell how bad policy and a lack of support services cause them to experience years of further trauma and pain. In the absence of targeted programs, gun violence survivors have to seek medical and psychological care through the general health system, a system that poses numerous economic and bureaucratic obstacles, obstacles exacerbated by trauma and physical pain.
Amnesty International Aotearoa Acting Executive Director Meg de Ronde says that the report is a sobering lesson for New Zealand.
“We consider ourselves to have high human rights standards and gun violence is a human rights issue because it threatens our ability to have a compassionate, equal and inclusive society. Especially post the Christchurch mosque shootings, policy-makers should be ensuring that we are putting people before bureaucracy.”
She adds the report is a reminder of the work ahead, “While New Zealand’s health system is not as dire as America’s, when we look at the failings around addressing and getting help for trauma in this report, it’s clear New Zealand needs to be conscious of its human rights obligations. This includes ensuring adequate long-term healthcare, support, rehabilitation and compensation for gun violence survivors and their families.”