In 2005, the then 29 years old Thor Halvorssen started the Human Rights Foundation in New York. Halvorssen was born in Caracas to Norwegian dad and a Venezuelan mother. Thor hails from a lineage of great men and women who provided leadership to their people at times of need. His paternal grandfather was on the front line in defense of his motherland, Norway, during the World War II. His maternal grandparents, on the other hand, were leaders in Venezuela and the Latin America at large. His mother died by the bullet after leading an anti-Hugo Chaves mass action. His father was detained in one of the Caracas prisons and tortured for speaking against graft in government. This lineage explains Thor Halvorssen’s unrelenting spirit in fighting for the voiceless in the society.
Teething Challenges Encountered by Thor and HRF
Mr Thor is the kind of man who will stand fearlessly against an establishment for the sake of human rights. He can take on any authority without worrying if the numbers are in his favor or not. His journey with HRF hasn’t been easy though. The pioneer chairman of HRF, Mr. Václav Havel, died about five years ago while his replacement, Garry Kasparov, was arrested and jailed for criticizing Vladimir Putin’s government. Funding, on the other hand, has not been as easy to come by for HRF.
Thor Halvorssen hasn’t been lucky either. He has been arrested many instances for rubbing authorities the wrong way. He escaped jail by a whisker for interviewing Thich Quang Do, the leader of the then banned the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.
More about Thor Halvorssen
Thor Halvorssen is a graduate of the eminent University of Pennsylvania. Besides being the president at HRF, he also associates himself with other human rights organizations, such as Children’s Peace Movement and Oslo Freedom Forum. Thor Halvorssen on Facebook.
Thor’s activism has earned him respect across the board. Global broadcasting outlets like The NYC Times and The Washington Post have featured him. Television media houses, such as Al-Jazeera, have also covered Thor’s story.