Halvorssen is a film producer and a human rights activist. He was described as a champion of the underdog and the powerless by the New York Times. He started advocating for human rights as an adolescent back in 1989 while in London. He was fighting against apartheid in South Africa.
Thor Halvorssen is of Venezuelan and Norwegian decent. What inspired him to becoming permanent in human rights is the political imprisonment of his father in Venezuela. He, later, initiated Human Rights Foundation based in New York. This foundation was inspired by the incidence where his mother was shot protesting in 2004. The primary organization goal was promoting political tolerance and democracy and liberating political prisoners in Latin America. Since 2004, the organization has fought for seven prisoners, who ended up being released, published two books about an individual right, submitted amicus briefs in major international human rights cases, and provided evidence in truth commissions.
Thor describes himself as a man who loves people. However, those he loves the most are freedom troublemakers, defectors, and dissidents who stand up against tyranny and authoritarians. The daily activity of his foundation, which has six workers, involves covering places around the globe trying to expose authoritarianism and give support to political prisoners and dissidents. Putting into consideration that half of the world lives under despotism, they have many areas to choose.
Thor Halvorssen is the founder of Oslo Freedom Forum, a global meeting which happens yearly. This forum becomes an event where human-rights beat reporters cannot afford to miss. Media personalities such as the PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Goggle’s Sergey Brin are the major donors. Thor is also an advocate of the Prague-based Children’s Peace Movement; On Own Feet.