Thor Halvorssen proved himself to be a critical player in the human rights movement and a key player in the Oslo Freedom Forum as well. Many individuals involved in the human rights movement came to this important conference, and Halvorssen was able to give some important advice to exiled Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng and his wife.
To start with, he told them they needed to continue to cultivate their relationship with “Christian”. In other words, the popular Batman actor Christian Bale, who had gone to China to negotiate the release of Chen and his wife.
Halvorssen had ingratiated himself to many because of his ability to navigate the dizzying politics of global human rights. At the same time, he has also made himself out to be a polarizing figure in this realm simply because he will go to any lengths to fulfill his objectives. He will do whatever it takes to extricating activists from their countries, instigating campaigns to free political dissidents from their oppressive regimes, or inviting them to speak or participate in the Oslo forum.
Halvorssen, who is part Norweigan and part Venezuelan and speaks four languages, says the pivotal moment in his life came when his father was imprisoned in 1993. The younger Halvorssen was an undergraduate student then, and he mounted a campaign with Amnesty International and succeeded in getting his father released in just 74 days.
Halvorssen’s relationship with his home country did not improve, perhaps because his mother was shot in 2004. He has since taken up the mantle for her struggle for human rights. Indeed, if you demonstrate you are a mover and a shaker in the fight for human rights you will not need to find Thor; he will find you.
Thor Halvorssen has become well-known for this work. As a film producer he endeavors to chronicle the human rights abuses many face in other countries simply for doing things that Americans take for granted every day. He founded the Human Rights Foundation in 2005.
Often, Thor’s struggle for human rights hits close to home as in the case of his mother, but also in the case of his cousin as well. Leopoldo Lopez recently became a political prisoner under the Maduro administration in his home country. Thus, Halvorssen’s struggle continues and will be something he does for the remainder of his life.