The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization promoting and protecting human rights on a global scale. Ensuring human rights and freedoms are preserved and promoted around the world is their mission. Current President of the HRF is Thor Halvorssen, a Venezuelan human rights advocate.
In New York last month the HRF called for the immediate release of Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, two journalists being held in Turkey charged with a criminal complaint filed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They are facing a life prison sentence for a report published claiming Turkey National Intelligence Organization is secretly arming the Islamist rebel in Syria. The HRF states journalists should not have to function under overly broad and vague criminal laws. They are claiming the charges have been trumped-up against these two prominent journalists to silence criticism and are abusing the freedom of expression. They are asking for their release to be immediate.
The HRF is also condemning the arrest of one of their lawyers, Nguyen Van Dai and his colleague Le Thu Ha in Vietnam. Nguyen is well-known for his fight on human rights in the country and has been arrested and charged for promoting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. They are looking at up to 20 years of prison time. The HRF is asking the Vietnamese government to comply with their human rights obligations and drop all the charges against these two and allow Nguyen to peacefully carry out his mission to protect and promote human rights.
Thor Leonardo Halvorssen is a human rights advocate and film producer and is described as a champion for the underdogs and powerless. He is speaking out on the behalf of Dundar and Gul claiming journalists everywhere should be able to work free of the fear of criminal prosecution. Halvorssen is the loudest voice of the HRF asking for the release of these two who were simply reporting on a matter of public interest.
Halvorssen is defending the actions of Nguyen as well. He wants a message sent to the regime of Vietnam that cracking down on human rights defenders will not be tolerated. It is Halvorssen’s claim that Vietnam is notorious for using vague anti-propaganda laws to quiet democratic reform and arrest human rights activists. He is demanding the release of Nguyen unconditionally.
Thor Halvorssen is a strong advocate for human rights. It has been said he has a burning desire to right the countless injustices of this world. He has committed himself with an intensity to right those who are being held and charged unfairly and have had their human rights ignored.