Information on areas outside the capital and its environs where the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) could pose a threat to individuals [GTM22268.E]

A precise assessment of areas of Guatemala where the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) could or could not be active or pose a threat to individuals could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB. However, Response to Information Request GTM21694.E of 11 September 1995 provides information on the areas of the country where guerrilla activities have been reported.

In addition to the information provided in GTM21694.E, the most recent report of URNG activities available to the DIRB is provided in the 30 November 1995 issue of Latin American Weekly Report. The source states that on 17 November a military base was attacked by the URNG in Petén, thus resuming hostilities that had been interrupted on 1 November "to allow the presidential elections to take place unhindered" (552).

Brief references to areas of guerrilla activity can also be found in the DIRB Indexed Media Review (IMR), available at your Regional Documentation Centre. However, some reports offer contradictory information. For example, a 22 September 1995 article from Central America Report on the demobilization of military commissioners included in the IMR states that the largest number of commissioners was found in the department of Jutiapa, "where no guerrilla threat exists," adding that Quiché is "the region most affected by the war" (5). But a 10 August 1995 article from Latin American Weekly Report states that a URNG unit "partially destroyed the installations of a radio station in the eastern department of Jutiapa" (360).

A June 1994 publication of the United States Department of State's Office of Asylum Affairs (OAA) entitled Guatemala - Profile of Asylum Claims & Country Conditions, available at your Regional Documentation Centre and through the UNHCR database (HCRViews), provides an overview of the extent of the guerrilla threat and activities. The publication states the following:
The limited guerrilla strength tends to be concentrated in remote areas with large indigenous populations, not easily accessible to government control. The relatively small numbers and limited reach of the guerrillas has not lessened the types of activities they employ, such as sabotage, robbery, extortion, and forced recruitment of combatants and labourers. Objects of their threats and violence include government and security personnel, civil servants, businessmen and traders, persons with special skills, and peasants sought as combatant or support personnel. In conflictive areas, the scope and random nature of most violence place all local residents at risk regardless of their political opinion (OAA June 1994/HCRViews).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Central America Report [Guatemala City]. 22 September 1995. "Guatemala: 22,286 Military Commissioners Demobilized."

Latin American Weekly Report [London]. 30 November 1995. "Hostilities."

_____. 10 August 1995. "Guerrilla Raids."

Office of Asylum Affairs (OAA), Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. June 1994. Guatemala: Profile of Asylum Claims and Country Conditions. Washington, DC: United States Department of State (HCRViews).