Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza is the founder of Human Rights Foundation and Oslo Freedom Forum. He draws his interests in human right advocacy from the wrongful imprisonment and torture of his father in a Venezuelan jail. The government securities also gunned down and wounded his mother in a peaceful public gathering in Venezuela. The two incidences have contributed in Thor’s interests in protecting the human rights in the United States and other countries. He is involved in the advocacy of individual and civil rights, public policy and interest, as well as fighting for democracy in the country.
The release of his father
In 1993, Thor Halvorssen led a campaign that sought the safety and release of his father from jail. He earned great support from numerous human rights advocates, public figures, and international organizations such as Amnesty International and International Society for Human Rights. The campaign succeeded with the release of his father on the Christmas Eve. Thor graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in History, Political Science, International Relations, and Romance Languages. At the University, he served as the legal advisor for the students charged at the university’s judicial system.
The Venezuelan-based human rights activist and film producer began his activism in London. He led people in opposition to the South African apartheid in 1989. Thor Halvorssen was the previous CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education from 1999 to 2004. He currently serves as the President of Human Rights Foundation and the CEO and President of Oslo Freedom Forum.
The Human Rights Foundation
Human Rights Foundation started with the aim of protecting the rights and liberties of the Venezuelan citizens. He founded the company in 2005 after the shooting of his mother in the political protest. Additionally, the company keeps the information about the countries led in a dictatorial way, for example, North Korea, and Angola. In the past, he has used this information to address the various oppressions that are happening in the world.
Relationship with the Media
In 2005, he founded the Moving Picture Institute (MPI) in his quest to address the various social injustices in the world. Thor Halvorssen believes that media is the most efficient medium through which people get to learn lessons on their rights. The institute has given grants to filmmakers and helped in the production of more than 30 films. Thor has appeared on different television outlets such as CNN, HBO, Fox News Channel, al-Jazeera, BBC News and Bloomberg among others.