Rabat – Moroccan human rights activist Zakaria El Hamel is among the 2019 winners of the Public Peace Prize (PPP).
A network of volunteers created the Public Peace Prize in 2014 with the aim of bringing greater recognition to civilian peacemakers and their peace initiatives around the world.
El Hamel, born in Berkane, earned the distinction for encouraging a new generation to stand up for peace and human rights in Morocco and the Arab world, according to his profile on the PPP website.
The 36-year-old activist works to create a culture of tolerance and understanding in Morocco by promoting the awareness and appreciation of human rights.
Zakaria El Hamel’s dedication to dialogue makes him “important for Morocco.” The activist founded in 2005 the “Youth for Peace and Dialogue Between Cultures” initiative in Oujda, meeting and collaborating with national and international human rights groups to promote intercultural action.
In August 2010, the activist participated as Morocco’s youth delegate in the Youth Summit for Human Rights International (YHRI) at the UN in Geneva. The summit inspired the Moroccan activist to protect his country from the growing threat of extremism in the region by promoting the freedom of religion and expression.
El Hamel began working alongside religious leaders to organize an interfaith event at the St. Louis church in Oujda to commemorate the UN’s “World Interfaith Harmony Week.” El Hamel gathered Christians and Muslims under one roof to promote peace, tolerance, and a mutual understanding between different faiths.
Through workshops and conferences, the activist has worked with various organizations to advocate for human rights and the freedoms of expression, thought, and belief.
“With his message, he has reached street vendors, children, young leaders of schools, and groups in different towns and cities throughout the country,” PPP emphasized.
Zakaria El Hamel’s activism has inspired more than 20 organizations in Morocco to form alliances and work together to maintain the country’s tradition of peace and tolerance.
Activists from Mexico, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Belgium, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago also earned 2019 Public Peace Prizes in recognition of their contributions to peace. PPP congratulated them for the important work they are doing to better the world.