As an atheist activist and anonymous blogger in Morocco, Kacem El Ghazzali defended freedom of belief and speech in Muslim countries. When his identity was discovered, he was kicked out of school, beaten, threatened with death and – eventually – forced to flee his homeland.
Since 2011, El Ghazzali has continued his fight from Switzerland, where he was granted asylum and now serves as the international representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union at the UN Human Rights Council. He receives e-mails daily from young people in the Arab world who are fighting for freedom of speech and religion. El Ghazzali introduces their stories to the UN, keeps in touch with them, and makes them feel that they are not alone. “People who are ready to take a risk and speak out for human rights are the only guarantee that the future can be different,” El Ghazzali says.