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UN warns of epidemic of gun deaths in Latin America

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Some 740,000 people are killed by firearms in Latin America each year, most of them outside combat zones, according to UN figures announced at a conference in Lima.

Camilo Duplat, a representative of the United Nations Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), said that 500,000 of these gun deaths are killings carried out by organized crime or common crime.

According to the official, violence is reaching "epidemic levels" in Latin America due to the availability of firearms, of which there are 80 million in the region.

Duplat said that Honduras and El Salvador had the highest rate of death by firearms in the world, at 77 and 62 per 100,000 inhabitants, while Colombia and Venezuela had rates of 37 deaths by firearm per 100,000 people, and Mexico had 25.

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