Human rights activist Thor Halvorssen is known all over the world for his endeavors in fighting against the injustices inflicted upon people by oppressive regimes. He works with dissidents and defectors whose main goal is to speak up against authoritarian regimes. In 2012, Thor and his cameraman traveled to Ho Chi Minh City. Their intention was to interview the founder of the Buddhist Church of Vietnam who had been put under house arrest for 28 years after his church had been banned. They found a way into the monastery and made the interview.
As they got out they were accosted by Vietnamese authorities with Thor being detained. He was let free after convincing them that he was a Buddhist seeker. Some people claim that Thor is a right winger because of his criticism of the left-wing oppressive regimes in Latin America. This caused philanthropist Sigrid Rausing to withdraw his support for Mr. Halvorssen after realizing that the conservative Bradley Foundation had funded Thor’s Human Rights Foundation. Thor has however insisted that he is not affiliated to any political group and that his concern is just human rights. HFR has a staff of 12 people and their aim is to expose authoritarian regimes, work with dissidents and liberate political prisoners.
Thor Halvorssen is also a film producer. He established the Human Rights Foundation in 2005. He is half Venezuelan and half-Norwegian. His careers as an activist started in 1989 when he organized protests in London against the apartheid regime in South Africa. He is also the head of Oslo Freedom Forum. Between 1999 and 2004 Thor was the CEO and Executive Director of the foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Mr. Halvorssen’s opinions have been aired by leading media houses like CNN, Al-Jazeera, Fox News as well as newspapers like The Economist, New York Post and the Daily Telegraph. The films that he has produced focus on freedom and human rights.
Mr. Halvorssen speaks French, English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently and this has enabled him to network with many human rights activists all over the world. His father was imprisoned by the Venezuelan authorities in 1993 while his mother was shot during a political protest in Venezuela in 2004. Thor is a citizen of Venezuela but he has not visited the country in six years for fear of being arrested by the current regime.
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