Thor Halvorssen is a human rights activist and a film producer from Venezuela. Halvorssen has made significant contributions in public interest advocacy, and individual rights. Halvorssen established the Oslo Freedom Initiative, a human rights festival convened annually. The Economist , on one occasion stated that the Oslo Freedom Forum is the equivalent of the Davos Economic Forum. Thor is also the president of an organization dedicated to human rights and justice, the Human Rights Foundation.
Thor Halvorssen’s interest in human rights started in 1989, while he was still an adolescent living in London. While here, he organized opposition to the apartheid system in South Africa. He ventured fully into promoting individual rights and due process after his father was held in Venezuela as a political prisoner. He established the Human Rights Foundation when his mother got shot in a political protest in New York, in 2004. HRF has dedicated itself to promoting democracy and liberating political prisoners in Latin America. So far, HRF has been able to influence the release of seven prisoners of conscience, been involved in international cases on human rights by providing amicus briefs, and has published two editions on human rights issues.
Halvorssen has repeatedly advocated and lobbied for the release of Lui Xiaobo, a political prisoner. Halvorssen has also shown his support for Rebiya Kadeer, a Chinese Uyghur leader, and has been opposed to travel bans imposed on Kadeer by the Tawainese government. Halvorssen is a critic of Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president for his efforts to sentence homosexuals to the death penalty. Halvorssen has constantly criticized Hugo Chavez, and has been opposed to Venezuela’s anti Semitism and anti-democracy in Latin America.
Halvorssen is currently in the process of producing a film that is an adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein. Halvorssen assisted in the production of the film, Freedom’s Fury, also produced by Quentin Tarantino, Andrew Vajna, and Lucy Liu. The film narrates the story of the 1956 uprising against dictatorship in Hungary. Halvorssen also produced a film called Hammer & Tickle. The film is about how humor, satire, and ridicule were used in the Soviet Regime to resist the system during a time when free speech was prohibited.
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