The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) works to help all people enjoy the basic freedoms some people in the world take for granted, and other people have never enjoyed.
Its foundation is the ideals presented in 1976 in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Its mission is to preserve human rights where they now exist, and expand them to other people, promoting liberal democracy. HRF opposes violence.
Incorporated in 2005, HRF opened its New York office in 2006.
Its work includes education to raise awareness about freedom and how it’s vulnerable. It also works to free political prisoners. It carries out education programs in closed societies. And it organizes events around the world, building a greater public awareness and desire to protect and expand human rights and freedoms for all. It promotes tolerance and democracy, especially in Latin America.
HRF has secured the release of 7 political prisoners. It has testified to Truth Commissions on human rights violations. It has also submitted amicus briefs in international human rights court cases. And published two books on human rights.
Filmmaker and human rights activist Thor Halvorssen Mendoza founded HRF to work for human rights in a nonpartson way. He’s also founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum and patron of On Our Own Feet, the Centipede Children a peace organization in Prague.
Halvorssen’s own family has experienced human rights violations in Venezuela. In 1993 his father, was falsely imprisoned, beaten and tortured. He was released only after human rights groups such as Amnesty International and the International Society for Human Rights took up his cause and pressured the government for his release. In 2004 Venezuela government security forces fired into a crowd of peaceful protestors, killing one person and wounding 2, including Halvorssen’s mother. In 2014, the government imprisoned Halvorssen’s first cousin.
Halvorssen’s films include: The Sugar Babies about children forced to work as slaves in Dominican Republic sugar farms, Hammer & Tickle about human rights violations in the Soviet Union and Freedom’s Fury about the 1956 Hungarian rebellion.
The Oslo Freedom Forum is an annual event bringing together human rights activists and leaders from all over the world.
HRF believes every person has the right to freedom of speech, of association and expression, freedom of religion and freedom from slavery and torture.