Thor Halvorssen has remained one of the world’s leading human rights activists for a number of years after first embarking on a campaign to free his own diplomat father from imprisonment and torture at the hands of members of Venezuela’s law enforcement agents. Unlike many in the human rights activism community, Halvorssen is not simply willing to look for ways of fighting for human rights in democratic areas of the world, but will instead place his own body and reputation on the line in a bid to protect the human rights of those he feels are in the deepest need.
Many of the campaigns undertaken by Halvorssen and the members of the Human Rights Foundation place them directly in harms way, resulting in many of the 12 HRF employees spending a large amount of time in hiding. Thor Halvorssen himself found he was placed in danger when he made the decision to travel to Vietnam and conduct an interview Thich Quang Do, the leader of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam; as the political prisoner has been held under house arrest for over a decade the idea of an interview being broadcast around the world resulted in Vietnamese officials beating both Halvorssen and his camera operator in a futile attempt to gain footage.
In other areas of the world, Thor Halvorssen has become a target for the dictators and tyrants he takes on over their human rights abuses through the press and clandestine campaigns designed to undermine these illegal governments. Halvorssen does not take into account his own safety or reputation when calling out world renowned tyrants including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who Thor Halvorssen accuses of illegally holding onto power in the African nation for decades while furthering the financial and political position of his own family at the expense of his own citizens.