Thor Halvorssen Takes on World’s Most Oppressive Regimes

Unlike the Thor in the movies, this Thor doesn’t wield a hammer or come from Asgard. Thor Halvorssen has roots in both Norway and Venezuela, and instead of a hammer, uses a variety of creative tactics to help people living under the thumb of some of the world’s harshest dictators.

Halvorssen is the founder and president of the Human Rights Foundation, described as a nonpartisan organization that promotes human rights, especially for those living in closed societies. Since Halvorssen formed the group in 2005, he has not only shed light on various human rights abuses around the world, but has tried to aid citizens in those countries, sometimes in unconventional ways. In 2014, Halvorssen and some of his allies launched several balloons from South Korea into North Korea. These balloons carried items like DVDs, USB drives, transistor radios, and leaflets containing information about the outside world. The regime of Kim Jung Un controls the flow of information so tightly that simply viewing Western TV programs can be punishable by prison. The North Korean government was so concerned about Halvorssen’s action they reportedly threatened to send agents to the south to assassinate him.

Halvorssen seems to live up to the nonpartisan description of the HRF. He has defended individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, and has worked with both left and right leaning political organizations to advance human rights. He has also criticized both Republicans and Democrats over human rights abuses in Latin America.

On the side, Halvorssen is a film producer with quite a few credits under his belt. He has worked on the films Freedom’s Fury (1956 Hungary Uprising) and Hammer and Tickle about the Soviet Union.