Thor Halvorssen has is so committed the international human rights that he works nearly around the clock year round. Halvorssen is founder and president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, which he started in 2005. He is half Norwegian and half Venezuelan and descends from a long line of political movers and shakers on both sides. Two primary ideals that have remained important to almost every one of these people is human rights and individual liberty. Commitment to these things has also become very personal to Halvorssen: His father was tortured after exposing corruption in the Venezuelan government and his mother was shot at a human rights demonstration.
The incident with his mother and father are the biggest personal motivators for his drive for human rights, but his cousin is also unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela. Above all, Halvorssen has a commitment to help and deep love for all people. Halvorssen had appointed Vaclav Havel as chairman of Human Rights Foundation. After Havel died in 2011, he replaced him with Garry Kasparov. This has been a very hands on role both for Kasparov and Halvorssen. They have both endured many beatings and physical trials for the cause of human rights.
Thor Halvorssen has also been in some incredibly sticky situations and managed to get himself out of them. He has been involved and continues to be involved in some of the most biggest human rights infringements throughout the world. However, his biggest passion has always been opposition to left-wing Latin American dictators. He has been criticized for his defense of right-wing groups and his fight against left-wing politicians in an industry where the left-wing principle of tolerance is so important. Halvorssen does insist the he is a liberal, but a classical liberal.
But being right or left isn’t that important an issue to Halvorssen. He goes after human rights violations wherever they are found. Most of the politicians he has opposed just happened to be left wing. Halvorssen just guides the ship that is the Human Rights Foundation and its staff of 12 employees. But although they are smaller than other human rights organizations, they usually have bigger international projects.