Few human rights activists in the world have as many credentials when it comes to understanding politics and political leaders as Thor Halvorssen, the founder of the Human Rights Foundation. Not only did Thor graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in political science, but he comes from one of the best known political family’s in both Norway and Venezuela. The links between the Halvorssen family and Venezuela date back to World War II when Thor’s paternal grandfather physically confronted invading Nazi forces and held them off as he directed the movement of the Norwegian Merchant Navy to the safety of the ports of Venezuela.
Thor Halvorssen’s own father remains an active politician in Venezuela working to end the restrictive socialist regime who allowed him to be jailed and tortured by law enforcement officials while working on an investigation into links between law enforcement officials and the illegal drug trade; the campaign to free his father marked the start of the work of Thor Halvorssen and his belief that political attitudes should not influence the work completed by activists around the world. Over the course of his career Thor has been one of the few activists in the human rights community who has been willing to criticize socialist and left leaning governments who abuse the human rights of their citizens.
As the owner of the socialist Ny Tid newspaper in Norway and a writer in the left leaning news outlets such as The Huffington Post, Thor Halvorssen has spent a large amount of time explaining his belief that politics has no place in human rights activism. Halvorssen points to European activists who rarely criticize socialist governments, such as Cuba and Venezuela despite a large scale attack taking place on the human rights of citizens. A political expert who understands how government works in its many forms, Thor Halvorssen believes there are more important parts of life than simply looking at the political ideology of a nation before deciding whether to make public the human rights abuses committed against the citizens of the world.