Thor Halvorssen was a born fighter. But Thor was destined to fight, not for himself but for other people. Early on in life, Thor Halvorssen observed and understood the injustice in the world. Even as a teenager, Thor Halvorssen took action when he witnessed injustice in the world around him. When he was just a teenager in 1989, Thor participated in organizing opposition to apartheid in South Africa.
Thor Halvorssen’s personal life galvanized his commitment to fighting for the rights of the oppressed. Thor’s mother was wounded by gunfire while she was attending a peaceful demonstration in Venezuela demanding the recall of President Hugo Chavez. Thor Halvorssen’s father was imprisoned in Venezuela and tortured for 74 days before Thor was able to secure his release from prison with the help of Amnesty International and several other organizations.
Thor Halvorssen has personal experience with dealing with authoritarian regimes. Thor was arrested by the communist regime in Vietnam while he was conducting an investigation into the human rights violations inflicted upon a church leader in Ho Chi Minh City. Although arrested, Thor managed to sneak out some critical tape recordings of his interview with the imprisoned religious leader.
In 2004, after his mother was shot, Thor Halvorssen founded the Human Rights Foundation in New York. The HRF consists of a group of dedicated staff members who believe in Thor’s mission to fight for the rights of oppressed people around the world. The HRF fights against dictators by publicly exposing their wicked behavior. Once the acts of these dictators are brought to light, political leaders from around the world are forced to pressure these dictators to change their ways. So far, more than 7 political prisoners have been released from jail by authoritarian regimes thanks to the hard work of the Human Rights Foundation.
Thor Halvorssen is also a talented and successful film producer. Thor has produced a number of films that help to educate the public about a wide variety of human rights issues. Thor has produced Hammer and Tickle which portrays how the Russian citizens used humor, satire and jokes as a way to express the truth in a country where free speech was brutally suppressed.