Thor Havlorssen and the HRF

Oppressive regimes and outright dictatorships still exist in many nations all across the world. Left-wing or Right-wing, conservative or liberal, they encompass all aspects of the political spectrum. Their opponents come from backgrounds equally as diverse and display political or social leanings that are just as far ranging. What they have in common is a belief in the rights of the individual over the benefit of the state and a willingness to speak out against corruption and government abuses.

One such group of outspoken individuals is the Human Rights Foundation and it’s charismatic founder Thor Havlorssen. Havlorssen is a half-Norwegian, half-Venezuelian with a personal and family history that is dotted repeatedly with acts of both oppression and peaceful resistance. His father was made a political prisoner in Venezuela and his mother was shot during an a protest.

His career has seen the founding of organizations and forums dedicated to the promotion of freedom and the rights of the individual. He has also published two books and played a major part in the production of several movies on his subject of interest. Click here to know more.

While Havlorssen’s face and name have garnered a lot of attention he is only a single part of a large organization. The Human Rights Foundation, or HRF, is self-described as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that believes in pushing for freedom throughout the world. The HRF has been active for nearly 9 years, having begun in 2005. Its ideals are based on those laid out in the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They have been active in countries ranging from Chile to Russia and just about everywhere in between. Their work focuses on the promotion and education of individual rights, even in oppressive societies. They also work to arrange the release of political prisoners. Not only does the the Human Rights Foundation organizes and hosts events, it funds and produces films as well, using them as a method of encouraging a freedom oriented ideology. The work of the entire organization, Havlorssen included, has made an immense difference in the lives of those forced to live under a government that neither protects or respects their individual rights.


June 4, 2017

Posted In: CEO, Human Rights

Leave a Comment

A Look at the Role of Thor Halvorssen in Championing for Human Rights

Thor Halvorssen is popularly known for being a champion of the oppressed or powerless in society. He has created a reputation for fighting against autocratic leadership while advocating for human rights in places where such rights are abused.

As a champion of the powerless, Halvorssen is one person who has experienced a dictatorial regime first hand. While at the University of Pennsylvania, his father was arrested and tortured for simply doing his job as the Venezuelan ambassador for anti-narcotic affairs as well as a special investigator for the Venezuelan Senate Commission. This issue prompted Thor to organize and lead a campaign that earned the support of the Amnesty International. It was through this campaign that Thor secured the release of his father.

Away from his father, Thor’s mother was shot and wounded by members of the Venezuelan government security organ during a peaceful protest. All these situations may have played a significant role in preparing him to be a strong and unwavering human rights advocate.

Halvorssen’s Involvement in Human Rights Advocacy

When it comes to advocating for human rights, Thor Halvorssen specializes on various matters including slavery, dictatorship threats to democracy and human trafficking. More importantly, Thor is a recognized lecturer on human rights in various institutions like the New York City Junto, Harvard Law School and the American Enterprise Institute.

Halvorssen previously served as the chief executive officer and first executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. As the head of FIRE, he united both libertarian and conservative advocacy organizations like the Feminists for Free Expression, Heritage Foundation and the Eagle Forum. In March 2004, Halvorssen stepped down from his position at FIRE, and later announced the formation of the Human Rights Foundation.

Human Rights Foundation

After the formation of HRF in 2005, it established its headquarters in NYC. The organization boasts of an International Council, which includes some renowned prisoners of conscience like Harry Wu, Elie Wiesel as well as Vladimir Bukovsky. It also includes democracy activists like Garry Kasparov and Mart Laar. As a leader of HRF, he has repeatedly advocated and lobbied for the release of various political prisoners like Liu Xiaobo.

Oslo Freedom Forum

Halvorssen is also acknowledged for founding the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2009, which is an international gathering of human rights advocates. Since its inception, the forum takes place in Oslo on a yearly basis. The international media highly publicizes the event to the point of giving it other names such as the Gathering of Heroes by the Norwegian newspaper.



December 15, 2016

Posted In: Advocacy Agency, Human Rights

Leave a Comment