In 2005, the Human Rights Foundation was launched in New York to provide a platform to voice concerns of political prisoners and dissidents. Its annual Oslo Freedom Forum has been dubbed the “Davos for Dissidents.” The man steering what is termed by some as the” New Global Human Rights Movement” is Thor Halvorssen.
The 41-year-old Mr. Halvorssen is of Venezuelan and Norwegian descent, born and brought up in Caracas. He has an ancestry of royals and freedom fighters. His paternal grandfather was the consul of the Norwegian King during World War II. His mother is a descendant of Cristobal Mendoza, the first president of Venezuela.
Thor’s mission is impartial. He fights injustices from all sides alike. He has avowed himself apolitical and has shown a burning desire to end this world’s injustices. Thor has committed himself to the mission with an intensity matching that of the dictatorships he targets. CEPOS, a libertarian think tank points out that Mr. Halvorssen is “as much a fixer as he is a showman.” He makes things happen and never changes his mind once on a mission. Click here to know more.
In addition to being an activist, Thor Halvorssen is an actor and a producer who uses his platform to educate society on the importance of human rights and how to unite against tyranny. The films he has produced include Freedom’s Fury, Hammer and Tickle, The Singing Revolution, The Sugar Babies, 2081 and the documentary, Indoctrinate U. He is currently working on a film adapted from the novel; The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. Thor Halvorssen on Linkedin.
Family history can often have a great effect on the political views people possess, and this can be seen as being the case for Venezuelan born human rights activist Thor Halvorssen. Although Halvorssen comes from a long family line of politicians and diplomats the family is also well known for maintaining their integrity when those around them may be losing theirs; Thor describes himself as a classical liberal who has spent much of his time as an adult campaigning on behalf of those who are trapped in closed societies around the world.
The career of Thor Halvorssen has seen him create some of the world’s most impressive new human rights institutions, including the Human Rights Foundation and the Oslo Freedom Forum. In terms of the Human Rights Foundation, Thor has used his growing influence and notoriety in a bid to publicize groups and individuals being persecuted for their political views; Thor has been named as one of the most impressive opponents to Russian President Vladimir Putin and has used his high profile to promote the causes highlighted by the Russian activist group “Pussy Riot”. Thor has also made sure his presence is felt in Russia on a regular basis by promoting former World chess champion and political opponent to Vladimir Putin, Gary Kasparov to the role of President of the Human Rights Foundation.
The liberal values of Thor Halvorssen have seen him become an owner of the “Ny Tid” Socialist newspaper in 2010; published monthly in the traditional Halvorssen home of Norway, “Ny Tid” was in danger of going out of business until it was rescued by the intervention of Thor. Despite being a liberal, the political views of Thor Halvorssen have rarely played a part in his career as a human rights activist that has seen the film producer publicize human rights abuses committed by both left and right wing governments. Thor believes in reporting all human rights abuses as a political outlook of any kind does not give any government the right to strip their citizens of their rights.
Outspoken human rights advocate and film producer Thor Halvorssen sent a personal communication to rapper Nicki Minaj imploring her to cancel an upcoming concert in Angola. As president of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), Thor Halvorssen states the dictator, Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ “policy to harass, imprison or kill politicians, journalists and activists who protest his rule,” as the reason for the boycott. Yet a $2 million dollar payment seems t have been hard to resist – as the show certainly did go on as scheduled. Despite the country’s extreme poverty, according to HRF, the dictator has gained a fortune exploiting Angola’s diamond and oil wealth.
Nicki Minaj herself grew up in extreme poverty on the Southside of Jamaica Queens, New York. Trusting that she would have an empathetic ear towards the plight of the people of Angola, Mr. Halvorssen reached out to Ms. Minaj in hopes of bringing attention to the country’s human rights indifference. Not to be singled out though, as Halvorssen points out, many other big name celebs continue to profit from performances in countries that are led by brutal regimes.
The Human Rights Foundation was founded by Halvorssen in 2005, yet he has been advocating for the rights of underprivileged societies since 1989 with loud opposition to South African apartheid. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania did not shield him from suffering first hand the unfairness of political structures that seek to silence the peoples they govern and misuse their power. His father, a diplomat, was falsely accused and suffered torture in a Venezuelan jail, while his mother was shot while attending a peaceful political protest.
The HRF has successfully participated in attaining the release of seven dissidents, and has provided crucial information for major international human rights cases. They follow an untiring mission of freedom for individuals in closed societies rooted in a deep commitment to individual liberty in those areas that are most under threat. While the lure of a cash windfall for performances in countries such as these may seem harmless, imagine the spotlight to human suffering Nicki Minaj and others could bring in the fight against impoverishment.