Thor Halvorssen became involved full-time with advocating for human rights when his father was held as a political prisoner in Venezuela. However, he began advocating for the South African apartheid in 1989 when he was an adolescent in London. Due to his father becoming a political prison, Thor Halvorssen founded the Human Rights Foundation. The Human Rights Foundation promotes the advocacy of individual rights, liberating political prisoners, and seeks to encourage tolerance and democracy in Latin America.
Since his founding of the Human Rights Foundation it has led to the release of seven prisoners of conscience, submitted evidence in international human rights cases and to Truth Commissions, as well as published two books on individual rights and the responsibilities of the state. Thor Halvorssen continues to work tirelessly in the political involvement of the foundation to lobby for the release of the Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo. He also advocates for legislative efforts in Uganda to change the policies that condemn homosexuality with the penalty of death.
The Human Rights Foundation has organized many events to promote and lobby for human rights. In 2014, the foundation hosted the event Hack North Korea that was aimed at getting new ideas and information into North Korea. The foundation also plays host in a series of one-day events that educates students about individual rights and democracy. Such one-day events have been held at the University of Colorado Boulder, Tufts University and .
The encouragement of human rights does not stop as the founder of the Human Rights Foundation. Thor Halvorssen of multiple films that highlight events of the world that have diminished human rights. His film Freedom’s Fury Halvorssen tells the story of the uprising against the dictatorship in Hungary 1956. In Hammer and Tickle he uses humor mixed with ridicule as a means of distinguishing between propaganda and reality under Soviet tyranny. The documentary film Indoctrinate U highlights cultural intolerane on college campuses.
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