Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza was born on March 9, 1976. He is a half Norwegian and half Venezuelan. Thor Halvorssen is a human rights activist and advocate. He is also the founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum. The Economist described the organization as a “spectacular human right festival that is on its way to becoming a human right equivalent of The Davos Economic Forum.”
Thor Halvorssen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Thor serves as the President of Human Right Foundation. It is an organization that is committed and dedicated to fighting for global human rights and freedom. He is also the Patron of On Own Feet and Children’s Peace movement that is based in the Czech Republic.
Thor’s paternal grandfather was the Norwegian King’s Consul in Venezuela during the Second World War His mother is descendent from Venezuela’s first President. Thor has been no stranger to facing hurdles when dealing with people in powerful positions. His father was arrested by the Venezuelan police after he exposed the corrupt nature of the government while he worked as a Venezuela’s drug mogul. His mother was caught in the shootout that erupted between protesters and police officers in Venezuela in an anti-Hugo Chaves demonstration.
Thor has continuously stated that he loves the people, and he would always fight for what is genuine and just. He replaced Vaclav Havel as the Chairperson of HRF with Garry Kasparov in 2011. Kasparov was assaulted and arrested by Russian police while leading a protest for the verdict of Pussy Riot. Halvorssen at Facebook.
In 2010, Thor Harlvorssen was beaten and assaulted. He and is cameraperson had traveled to Ho Chi Minh City to cover an interview with Quang Do. The vocal leader had been under house arrest for the past 28 years. As they left the monastery, Thor was apprehended by the Vietnamese police and detained. He was released after he lied to them that he was a Buddhist seeker. His cameraperson managed to escape using the side door. It was funny when he recounted how he hid the video card in his rectum!
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You need to know only a little about Thor Halvorssen’s youth and young adulthood to understand how he became involved in human rights activism. His mother, Hilda Mendoza Denham was shot and wounded during a protest that started out peaceful but turned violent when Venezuela officials unexpectedly opened fire on the protestors. While she was one of twelve persons injured, one woman was killed. Additionally, when Halvorssen was a freshman in college, his dad was arrested while investigating the Medellin cartel for fraud and money laundering. He was held for nearly 3 months on trumped-up charges and nearly killed, though eventually released.
It was in 1999 that Thor became the first CEO and executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). It was that same year that he led a campaign at Lucent Technologies that was aimed at stopping China from using slave labor to make Lucent products; China is known to imprison millions of its citizens in forced labor camps producing various consumer products. He proposed that China be required to certify that slave labor was not used in fabricating any of the company’s products. This effort met with at least some success.
It was these experiences and doubtless many others that led Halvorssen to create, and helm, the Human Rights Foundation. Incorporated in 2005, the HRF stated that its mission was to adopt the same motivating principle as the original human rights movement, that is,to oppose tryranny while championing self-determination. Headquartered in New York City, political prisoner luminaries such as Vladimir Bukovsky, Harry Wu and Elie Wiesel sit, or have sat, on its International Council. Watch Video Here.
Halvorssen is a frequent critic of Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, for his nation’s imposition of the death penalty for homosexuality; he is no fan of Hugo Chavez either, citing Venezuela’s anti-Semitic practices and policies. Halvorssen even exposed the fact that celebrities Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent, and Mariah Carey, to name just a few, had accepted money from dictators. Halvorssen at LinkedIn .
As a producer, Halvorssen uses the medium of film to shed light on violations of human rights the world over. The Moving Picture Institute was founded by Halvorssen and he is currently producing a film adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.
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