Thor Halvorssen, Rebel for a Cause
Thor Halvorssen is president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF), which he launched in 2005 and molded in his image. HRF boasts 12 employees that look for ways to combat authoritarianism and speak out for dissidents and political prisoners. Halvorssen was beaten in Ho Chi Minh City after interviewing a Buddhist monk who spent 28 years under house arrest. His cameraman salvaged the video card by smuggling it out – in his anus.
Thor Halvorssen, who is Venezuelan and Norwegian by descent, also has been highly critical of left-wing Latin American dictators. HRF hosts its Oslo Freedom Forum annually. The event, which is widely attended by human-rights reporters, boasts famous and obscure guest speakers who have risked life and liberty for their causes. Learn more about Thor Halvorssen: https://humanrightsfoundation.org/about/board-and-international-council/thor-halvorssen
A Weekly Standard article on Halvorssen states, “For Thor, as for his forebears, human rights and individual liberty are not something that should be on the table in any discussion. They are the table upon which all other discussions rest.”
His mother and father provided exemplary models of what it means to stand up for human rights. His father, once Venezuela’s drug czar, exposed government corruption and was tortured in a Caracas prison. His mother was shot while protesting against Hugo Chávez.
According the Huffington Post, Halvorssen began advocating for human rights as an adolescent in 1989 in London by organizing opposition to South African apartheid. After his father became a political prisoner, Halvorssen became involved in fighting full time for due process and individual rights. Following his mother’s arrest, he founded HRF. He is also the Patron of the Prague-based Children’s Peace Movement On Own Feet.
Buzz Feed describes Halvorssen as someone “who has the clean-cut looks and style of a preppy 80s teen-movie villain, is rumored to be enormously rich, though he says his net worth is not exorbitant.”
One thing that is obvious in interviews with Halvorssen, who speaks four languages, is his passion for his work and a penchant for useful theatrics. He covers and disseminates human rights abuses with flair and verve.