The traditional pathway for individuals to become involved in human rights does not usually involve coming from a long line of diplomats and aristocrats, but Venezuela’s Thor Halvorssen does not seem to be the archetypal human rights activist. Halvorssen has spent a large amount of his adult life working to protect vulnerable people living in closed societies and under tyrannical rule from the abuses they tend to face when stripped of their human rights.
The privileged position Thor Halvorssen appears to have been born into includes a family filled with government officials and human rights activists in Norway and Venezuela, but this position has not limited the personal effect human rights problems have had on Halvorssen. In fact, Thor Halvorssen has seen members of his immediate family personally affected by the loss of their human rights; Halvorssen’s father revealed major law enforcement corruption in his role as the Venezuelan drug czar, but found his diplomatic status gave him no protection from arrest and torture.
Despite the many problems Thor Halvorssen has witnessed during his life and role as a leader of a number of human rights charities he has maintained his position that political influence should be kept out of the work he completes. Halvorssen has owned a traditionally left wing newspaper in Norway and appeared on the conservative Fox News network as a commentator on politics; during his appearance on Fox News Thor Halvorssen revealed he was a supporter of Bernie Sanders for the role of U.S. President.
As the founder of the Human Rights Foundation Thor Halvorssen has been recognized as a leader in the activism community, which includes his establishment of a number of not for profit groups, including The Motion Picture Institute and The Oslo Freedom Forum. The film producer is well known around the world for his appearances and writings with major news outlets, including the BBC, CNN, and The Huffington Post.