Thor Halvorssen’s got a major goal these days: helping to take down North Korea’s dictatorship and freeing the North Korean people.
Thor Halvorssen, 39, is the president of The Human Rights Foundation, a New York-based NGO that launched in 2005 to address human rights issues across the developing world.
Indeed, human rights issues runs deep in his family. He’s descended from leaders of Latin America’s 19th century independence movements, and his father was held as a political prisoner in his native Venezuela.
Halvorssen joins forces with dissidents and defectors to stand up against tyrannical dictators. What’s more, he takes funding from both left wing and right wing organizations, because he thinks it will help his cause. With his organization, where he leads a staff of twelve, he stands against dictators of all political shades, be it Augusto Pinochet, or Fidel Castro.
The Human Rights Foundation’s main event is the Oslo Freedom Forum, where large donors get to mix with dissidents and activists and potentially recruit them to their cause.
But North Korea is what drives him most of all. It’s a country that misappropriated international aid it was given to deal with a terrible famine in the ‘90’s, conducts nuclear tests, kidnaps foreigners, sinks South Korean ships, and terrorizes individuals beyond its reach.
The Kim family holds a tight authoritarian grip on North Korea, a country with 25 million people. Halvorssen is fighting to bring the populace freedom.
According to HRF, Thor Halvorssen and his team organize hackathons for North Korean defectors to infiltrate regime websites, and think up all sorts of ways to smuggle contraband (USB drives, South Korean magazines, Hollywood movies, banned books) into the country.
Plus, Halvorssen aims to send copies of the move “The Interview,” which parodies Dictator Kim Jong-un, into North Korea by balloon. In response, the North Korean regime has threatened to kill him.
Near the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea, the team inflates the 30-foot high balloons that carry bundles of media.
They’re set to be time-released over North Korea, where people starve for information from the outside world.