Category Archives: Human Rights Leaders

George Soros Brings The Fight For Human Rights To The Streets Of Ferguson

Published / by GSM

The Ferguson protests of late 2014 were often seen as a simple case of the latest shooting of an African American male by a law enforcement officer in a nation where institutional racism remains a major problem. Into what was originally a local protest movement steps George Soros, the former Hungarian refugee who has been a major supporter of human rights groups across the planet through his own Open Society Foundations network; The Washington Times reports Soros provided around $33 million in funding for groups supporting the Ferguson protests, including the Drug Policy Alliance that receives around $4 million from the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations each year. The Drug Policy Alliance policy director Kassandra Frederique played a major role in bringing the Ferguson protests to the attention of the public as the shooting of Michael Brown was seen as reflecting many of the issues the charity looks to combat on a regular basis.

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The backing of groups such as the Drug Policy Alliance has led to George Soros becoming an influential figure in the “#BlackLivesMatter” movement that has been at the heart of the civil rights movement in the U.S. and led to many conservative commentators stating Soros is the man behind the rise of the movement. In fact, George Soros simply backs groups that have come together since the 2011 shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida to create a movement designed to keep the issues of the civil rights movement in the public eye; over the course of the Ferguson protests over 500 people who are part of the “#BlackLivesMatter” movement traveled to Ferguson to aid in the organizing of the protestors in the city to keep them safe at all times. Even the publicizing of the Ferguson protests led to George Soros becoming mentioned as he funding the publishing of the publishing of the Colorlines Website that pushed forward the cause of the people of Ferguson. Read his profile at Business Insider.

Over the course of the Ferguson protests the issue of human and civil rights has risen to the surface of the work completed by George Soros and his Open Society Foundations. George Soros has maintained an interest in social justice and the advancement of liberal issues since his youth in Hungary, which included a period of time spent living under the rule of the occupying Nazi forces, the Open Society Foundations reports. George Soros remains one of the world’s leading hedge fund managers long after his 80th birthday and continues to work to better the lives of the people of the world, including those who are living under harsh human rights conditions in what are seen as free and democratic countries. Learn more on about George Soros.

For The Human Rights Foundation, Action Trumps Awareness

Published / by GSM

To be in the presence of Thor Halvorssen is to see a figure from a different era. Halvorssen has the energy of the old titans of industry, constantly checking one of his myriad cell phones, or dashing off a quick email on a laptop or three, while holding a conversation with someone nearby, or running to a car for his next plane flight. He keeps the hours of the damned, up until three in the morning and then catching a red-eye across the country, working for the Human Rights Foundation, or for his film institute.

In the realm of human rights advocacy, there’s a traditional way of doing things: Hashtags and sad faces and sonorous speeches bewailing the horrific fates of political prisoners the world over. Everyone talks about awareness…but confrontation is reserved for those governments with representative governments, and a decided lack of secret police forces waiting to break down doors in the middle of the night.

According to Buzzfeed, Thor Halvorssen is far from traditional. From his first political prisoner freed–his father, when he was a college student–to the death of his grandmother and the wounds his mother took protesting Hugo Chavez, Thor Halvorssen has taken the mind numbing statistics, and the demurrals of the press, and confronted them. He accepts donations from all across the political spectrum, and he belittles awareness for awareness’ sake.

Thor feels the pain of the political dissident. And he acts on that pain, using his training in film and theater to give them a podium, to give them a spotlight and a stage to tell their stories. His Oslo Freedom Forum brings those who’ve risked life and limb (and not always successfully on the latter) to a public stage and gives them the chance to tell their stories. In his own words, Halvorssen says that they can dismantle a government’s position in five sentences, with greater effectiveness than a master’s thesis.

Halvorssen uses his own experiences as a motivational goad. He has seen the price of dictatorship and he cannot simply turn a blind eye to it because it happens seven time zones away. He will work on schemes to get forbidden materials to people living in the most despotic nations on earth; his most recent scheme is to send USB drives over the Korean DMZ into North Korea, after doing a television appearance tearing portraits of the Kim “dynasty.”

In a day of hashtag heroes, Halvorssen is abrupt, and full of action. We need more like him.

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