Thor Halvorssen has been a tireless fighter who is committed to protecting liberty and human rights around the world. Although the general public is largely unaware of it, human rights violations are committed by ruthless dictators every day. Thor Halvorssen has been standing up for the rights of others since he was a young boy. Even as a young adolescent, Halvorssen recognized the need to fight against oppressive governments. In 1989, Halvorssen joined organized opposition against the apartheid that was taking place in South Africa.
Unlike many activists, Thor Halvorssen has been personally impacted by the actions of authoritarian regimes. Thor’s father was arrested, imprisoned and tortured after launching a series of investigations into the actions of corrupt government officials in Venezuela. After his fathers arrest, Thor took action immediately. Thor worked with groups such as Amnesty International to get his father released from prison. After his release from prison, Halvorssen’s father was declared to be innocent of all charges. Later, in 2004, Halvorssen’s mother was wounded by a gunshot fired by government security agents while she was involved in a peaceful protest advocating the recall of President Hugo Chavez.
Thor Halvorssen has also fought against slave labor. In 1999, Halvorssen appeared before an annual stockholders’ meeting of Lucent Technologies and demanded that the company institute a slave labor policy that would require China to certify that there was no slave labor involved during the manufacturing of products for Lucent Technologies. At the time, China was accused of running a slave labor camp that forced millions of men, women and children to produce consumer goods.
In 2004, Thor Halvorssen created the Human Rights Foundation in New York City. One of the major goals of the HRF is to fight for liberty and human rights for oppressed people around the world. The HRF has challenged dictators in many countries including Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela and China. The efforts of the HRF have resulted in 7 political prisoners being released from the jails where they were being held by authoritarian dictators.
Thor Halvorssen continues to expose human rights violators by producing films like The Sugar Babies which documents migrant farmer abuse and slave labor in the Dominican Republic.