Fostering a passion for ridding the world of dictators that subjugate their people, Thor Halvorssen has made it his life’s work to expose the atrocities inflicted upon innocent people throughout the world. Aware since childhood of the injustices in his own country of Venezuela, Mr. Halvorssen has been an active advocate of human rights worldwide.
Born in 1976 to Thor Halvorssen Hellum, a former Ambassador of Anti-Narcotics Affairs, and to Hilda Mendoza, Thor’s family was directly affected by their corrupt government. During the 1980’s, Thor’s father became involved in fighting human rights violations that were taking place in Central America. In 1993, while attending the University of Pennsylvania, Thor learned that his father had been unlawfully imprisoned for “terrorism” while he was investigating the actions of a drug cartel. With the help of Amnesty International, Thor fought for his father’s release and, after seventy four days, his father was cleared of all the charges. In addition to his father’s activism, his mother’s equally shared passion found her at an anti-Chavez event which turned violent and left her wounded.
Thor has continued to work with a variety of organizations that target human rights violators. Based on the volume of articles he has written, his knowledge is expansive and thorough. Arguably, his biggest contribution to protecting human rights is the founding of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) in 2005. Not interested in political affiliations, HRF consists of people who share a passion for personal liberties and freedom. Having assisted in the release of several political prisoners, HRF works tirelessly to expose the dictators that abuse their people. Annually, HRF hosts the Oslo Freedom Forum. The event draws leaders and activists from around the world. It’s aim? To continue the fight for peace throughout the world.
The human dynamo that is Thor Halvorssen takes many different roles in life, but to those looking in from the outside his greatest achievements seem to be found in the realm of human rights activism. Halvorssen seems to be on his way to the top of the film production business after working with many of the best known names in Hollywood, but has made his way to the top of the activism community through his nonstop hard work and dedication to a cause close to his heart.
The role Thor Halvorssen has taken up with the Human Rights Foundation, which he formed in 2005, came after spending most of his adult life working with human rights groups in various areas of the world. Although his activism role brought success the issues the Venezuelan born activist had with those he worked with pushed him to take the major step of forming his own activism foundation. Thor Halvorssen has always refused to sit by and allow human rights to be abused at any level or by any political group, so much so that in the U.S. he has spoken out against comments made by members of both the Democrats and Republicans.
Hard work and dedication are two distinct elements in the life of Thor Halvorssen that have pushed him to become a major part of the Hollywood film industry as a production partner of well known names, such as Lucy Liu and Quentin Tarantino. The majority of the work completed by Halvorssen has been in the documentary field with a number of films produced that reflect his views on human rights and various abuses, including the movie “Indoctrinate U” that focuses on bias towards left wing views seen in the U.S. higher education system.
Thor Halvorssen has also looked to make people in politically stable Europe more aware of the issues facing those in other areas of the world through a series of talks and seminars known as the Oslo Freedom Forum. The Oslo Freedom Forum has proven such a success that Halvorssen was awarded a medal of honor by the Romanian government during festivities to remember the 1989 Romanian Revolution.
“we all have our own deserts. They may not be the same as my desert, but we all have to cross them to find a purpose in life and be free.”
Yeonmi Park, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom
In her autobiography, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, Yeonmi Park tells her story of escaping the confinement and starvation of North Korea. Park and her mother left when she was thirteen to begin their journey across China’s deserts towards freedom. Before long they were kidnapped by Chinese brokers and sold into sexual slavery. Park’s innocence of the world indoctrinated by North Korth was quickly shattered by rape, suicidal thoughts, and physical abuse.
The Reason’s blog interviewed Yeonmi Park and discover why her story is now questioned after the 2015 release of the book. As a vocal human rights activist, Park has been targeted by the North Korean government for how she portrays the country. The attacks have concentrated on her story line inconsistencies compared to her life story.
Initially, Park did not release information about her rapes and abuse. Names and times were altered in her book to protect identities. Protecting her family still in North Korea is understandably necessary. The true point of her story is to bring awareness to the plight of North Korean citizens, as well as to hopefully find her sister. Park’s sister also defected from North Korea but has never been found after she went to China. Her father made it across the South Korean border. He passed away within only a few months.
The people Yeonmi Park has and will inspire is her victory, and cannot be defeated by North Korean propaganda. Her bravery is her resilience. Just as she continued through the Chinese deserts and forced marriages. Just as she learned to carry on with no food and only her mother by her side, Parks will continue to fight for the people of North Korea. Her truth cannot be silenced. The people of North Korea will not be forever silenced.