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Guatemalan refugees agree with gov't on repatriation from Mexico

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Mexico City, Feb 26 (EFE).- The villagers from the Guatemalan community of Nueva Esperanza who took refuge in southern Mexico in 2011 reached an agreement with their country's government to be repatriated on Feb. 28, non-governmental organizations reported Tuesday.

The community of Nueva Esperanza was evacuated by force by Guatemalan authorities in August 2011 and its residents crossed the border and took refuge on Mexican soil, where they have lived "in critical conditions," according to the Civil Observation Mission comprised of 10 Mexican human rights organizations.

The Mission said in a communique that it had documented "the inattention of the governments of Guatemala and Mexico, the non-fulfillment of obligations for humanitarian assistance and even harassment toward the displaced villagers."

"The deterioration of conditions also caused the death of a girl and put at risk the lives of the villagers, the majority of whom are girls and boys," it said.

Some 300 Guatemalans have been living in Mexico in precarious humanitarian conditions and with an uncertain immigration situation since they were displaced on Aug. 23, 2011, from their homes across the border.

Nueva Esperanza is located in a protected nature preserve in the northern Guatemalan province of Peten, and the Guatemalan government said at the time that the objective of the displacement was to recover areas that were under the control of drug traffickers.

Guatemalan authorities also denied the version of humanitarian organizations, which said that security forces used violence to dislodge the villagers adding that the operation had been carried out according to a judicial order and respecting human rights.

The organizations making up the Mission said that its members would accompany the displaced people up to the border and that a commission would then accompany them "to the place where they will be relocated in ... Peten."

The Mission also demanded that the governments of Guatemala and Mexico at all times guarantee the safety of the displaced people and those accompanying as they proceed to their new homes.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130226/guatemalan-refugees-agree-govt-repatriation-mexico