Thor Halvorssen is a highly involved human rights activist and President of Human Rights Foundation (HRF). HRF is a non-profit organization founded by Mr Thor for the purpose of literally fighting tyranny and injustice throughout the globe.
Thor’s grandfather, serving as the Norwegian Consul in Venezuela, is responsible for saving Norway’s merchant fleet from Nazis during World War II. His mother descends from Latin American freedom fighters and heroes including Simon Bolivar and Cristóbal Mendoza.
Thor’s fight against oppression is a personal one. His father suffered in a Caracas prison after exposing government corruption, and his mother was shot while opposing Hugo Chavez at a demonstration. HRF Chairman Garry Kasparov received a beating from Russian police for protesting Pussy Riot’s guilty verdict, and Thor himself was subjected to violence for his candid interview with Thich Quang Do, a Buddhist political prisoner in Vietnam.
Even though Thor considers himself a classical liberal, according to WeeklyStandard.com, he refuses to discriminate based on politics. His mission, “to rid the world of tyranny,” is more important, and he will except contributions from anyone who chooses to champion human rights. He and his HRF associates are not concerned about problems in a democracy where human rights are recognized. Instead, they are freeing political prisoners and standing up to authoritarianism.
Thor’s Oslo Freedom Forum is a network of global conferences committed to the promotion of human rights across the globe, according to its website OsloFreedomForum.com. The forum began in 2009, and each year continues to bring together leading activists, journalists, authors, professors, politicians and governors committed to human rights. Click here to know more.
Thor Halvorssen is often seen as one of the leading lights of the international human rights activism community after he led a number of new initiatives that have been seen as new ways of addressing human rights problems. The Halvorssen family have faced their own issues when it comes to human rights as a number of many members of the family have been targeted by government agencies because of their opposition to groups across South America. Thor has used the experiences of his own family as a way of making sure he moves forward in his fight to provide human rights for all the people of the world.
The family of Thor Halvorssen have a long history of being involved in diplomacy and politics in both Europe and South America, but for Thor Halvorssen the issues facing his own parents have been a driving force in his decision to assist those affected by a loss of human rights. Halvorssen’s own father was given diplomatic status when he took up the role of drug czar for the Venezuelan government and uncovered widespread corruption throughout the law enforcement agencies of the country; despite his political protection Thor’s father was imprisoned for 74 days and tortured before the campaign with Amnesty International headed by Thor himself saw him freed from jail.
This initial introduction to the world of human rights took place for Thor Halvorssen when he was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania and began his own career in activism. While studying in the U.S. Thor embarked upon his own activism with many well known groups, but always felt as though more could be done with an organization that is more focused on the major global issues of human rights; creating the Human Rights Foundation in 2005 allowed Thor Halvorssen to handpick the staff of the group and make sure the major tyrants and dictators of the world were kept under pressure at all times.