Category Archives: Human Rights Leaders

Thor Havlorssen: Troublemaker for Tyrants

Thor Havlorssen has dedicated his life to human rights and ending tyranny throughout the world. He created the organization Human Rights Foundation (HRF)in 2005, which has the support of major donors, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Google’s Sergey Brin. Havlorssen’s family has been actively involved in human rights for generations. At one protest, his mother was shot and his cousin remains imprisoned in Venezuela. Havlorssen says he “loves” people and has proven he is not afraid to get his hands dirty. At one point he was beaten severely after an interview with the leader of the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam. He works with other activists in HRF, who come from a variety of backgrounds, but they all maintain a common goal to end tyranny throughout the world.
Thor Halvorssen has been fighting for the rights of others since 1989. The New York Times has called him “a champion of the unederdog and powerless” for his protests and activism for those who cannot defend themselves against tyranny and oppression. The half Norwegian and Venezuelan learned a lot about human suffering at a young age and began his fight for the powerless as a teenager. After creating HRF, he and the members of HRF have managed to liberate seven prisoners of conscience and work tirelessly to document the oppression of people throughout the world via film and in writing.
In addition to HRF, Halvorssen founded and is CEO of the Oslo Freedom Forum, which is a human rights conference where those supporting and wanting to learn about human rights issues and opportunities can be discussed openly. Like most forums, there are speeches, panels, and dinners to attend, but people are discussing what they can do and what the next step is for individuals under attack by their own governments. In 2013, the forum drew 450 attendees with 57 countries represented. Halvorssen is also involved in many other human rights movements, including the Patrol of the Prague, a children’s peace movement.