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  • Flavia Pansieri, UN Adviser of the High Commission of Human Rights expressed her concerns about the situation of human rights in Guatemala last year. (Photo: EFE/Archive)

    Flavia Pansieri, UN Adviser of the High Commission of Human Rights expressed her concerns about the situation of human rights in Guatemala last year. (Photo: EFE/Archive) | Photo: EFE

18 human rights activists have been murdered in 2013 in Guatemala.

Eleven organizations belonging to the Convergence of Human Rights in Guatemala, as well as the National Revolutionary Unity party of Guatemala (URNG) condemned on Saturday the assassination of Juan Almira on Wednesday.

They also demanded an indepth investigation into the crime and other related murders in a statement reported by the Cuban press agency Prensa Latina, given that Almira was under police protection after he received threats to his life.

Almira was president of the Community Council of Development from 2004 in the south western town of El Naranjo, Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, Escuintla state, and founder of the UNRG branch in Escuintla, where he was murdered. In 2010 he decided to resign because of threats and harassment against him.

A group of hired murderers in a black vehicle shot at Almira in a rural school of El Naranjo.

In its statement, the state branch of the URNG Escuintla recalled that seven other activists had been assassinated since 2004 in the area of Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, “where there is constant repression since the Peace Accords were signed (in December 1996),” especially from 2004, when social leader Florentin Gudiel was murdered after denouncing crime in this region together.

The URNG is a former guerrilla movement created in 1982, uniting four revolutionary groups. It became a legal political party two years after the peace accords of 1996. The agreement signed between the UNRG and the government took place under the supervision of the United Nations (UN) and put an end to 36 years of civil war in the country.

Although the UN forced the government to implement several constitutional reforms, many social and economic issues remain pending in the country, and communities have intensified their struggles against hydroelectric enterprises, mining and cement factories in several regions.

Last May, the UN Adviser of the High Commission of Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri, expressed her concern over the death of 18 human rights activists in 2013 in Guatemala in a press conference. She also noted the testimonies she heard of threats, assaults and smear campaigns against many others.

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