For Thor Halvorssen Activism is a Personal Affair

The lauded Venezuelan human rights activist, Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza or simply Thor Halvorssen has spent his entire career campaigning for the downtrodden and overlooked.

Thor Halvorssen leads two foundations with the goal of eliminating human rights violations across the globe, The Human Rights Foundation and the Oslo Freedom Forum, the former a leading nonprofit fostered by the belief that “human beings are entitled to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries” and the latter described as the “TED of freedom fighting.”

For Thor Halvorssen, activism begins at home, as both his mother and father have suffered unjustly from tyrannical governments. Thor’s first major campaign against human rights abuses began his freshman year of college as he sought to have his father freed from prison. Appealing to international organizations such as Amnesty International, Halvorssen was able to secure the release of his father in what would be his first victory in his fight against blatant rights abuses.

Rights abuses would again strike close to the Halvorssen home in 2004, when Hilda Mendoza Denham, Thor Halvorssens’s mother, was shot while attending a peaceful assembly. The attack was televised live and resulted in the death of one woman.

The proximity in which rights abuses have struck Thor Halvorrsen’s personal life have only made his efforts within the Human Rights Foundation and Oslo Freedom Forum even more effective as activism has become a very personal affair for the CEO.

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