The Human Rights Foundation was born in 2005 when Venezuelan-born activist Thor Halvorssen became disenchanted with the work being completed by the major human rights community organizations he felt were ignoring many of the major issues in the world. Halvorssen has developed the Human Rights Foundation to become a leading part of the activism community he explains follows the definition of human rights laid down by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and seeks to make an impact through a range of events developed to raise the profile of individual activists and the community as a whole. Thor Halvorssen LinkedIn .
Much of the work Thor Halvorssen and the small staff of just 12 at the Human Rights Foundation complete is done in secrecy as they have become known for assisting in the escape of political prisoners from restrictive regimes. As a Hollywood film producer, Thor understands the importance of creating buzz around the events the Human Rights Foundation has developed over the years; the University of Pennsylvania graduate Halvorssen has looked to use open letters as part of the major events of the Human Rights Foundation that include a 2011 event designed to halt the “Urban Outfitters” brand from using images of Che Guevara out of respect for those who died during the Cuban revolution.
Perhaps the best-known event the Human Rights Foundation has become known for is the annual Oslo Freedom Forum that has been called the most important event on the calendar for human rights activists. Thor Halvorssen himself plays a key role in creating the annual conference in Oslo where he feels the profile of many activists can be raised by the global exposure offered by this event. Individual events have also been created by Halvorssen and the Human Rights Foundation, such as the Hack North Korea event that brought together technology experts from around the world to discuss new ideas for moving information in and out of the closed borders of the communist nation.