YMCAs Remember Slain Guatemalan Volunteers

YMCAs around the world are remembering three young volunteers who were shot dead while working for the Guatemalan branch in August.

The World Alliance of YMCAs said in a statement on Monday that the bodies of 22-year-old Eliazar Bernabe Hernadez Rhodes, 23-year-old Mario Rene Gamez Moon, and 19-year-old Juan Luis Navarro were found on August 11, according to Ecumenical News International.

The volunteers were working as part of a 15-man team with youths in danger of joining gangs in Amatitlan, near Guatemala City, when they were brutally beaten and shot dead.

The Latin American and Caribbean Alliance of YMCAs has expressed its sorrow over the deaths in a special section set up on its website in memory of the volunteers.

"We deeply miss the presence of these three YMCA leaders, and support the commitment of the rest of the volunteers that continue working in their honor," LACA said on its website.

Human rights group Amnesty International, which is currently researching killings in the Amatitlan area, said that the remaining volunteers in the team were now in "grave danger" following the murders.

Amnesty is urging supporters to write to the Guatemalan Minister of the Interior calling for measures to protect the remaining YMCA volunteers, and to the Attorney General demanding that he launch a swift investigation into the killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The World Alliance of YMCAs has given its backing to the Amnesty campaign.