The global music icon, Nicki Minaj, has come under fire from the Human Rights Foundation for accepting an invitation to perform at a Christmas Festival in the African nation of Angola. The controversy stems from the communications company that is hosting the event, Unitel. This organization is directly linked to the ruling family of the southern nation, which is spearheaded by the Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Santos has been accused of being a dictator, and his regime has been associated with crimes against the country’s journalist, activist and politicians. The Human Rights Foundation sent Nicki Minaj a letter that specified the concerns that they had for her indirect support of a dictator that allegedly amassed an enormous amount of wealth that is characterized as blood money. Despite the awareness that the Human Rights Foundation has brought to Nicki Minaj and her executive team, Minaj accepted the invite to participate in the Christmas festival and she performed without releasing a statement.
Even though the humans rights community does not expect Nicki Minaj to fix the problem of regimes that commit crimes against its citizens, the human rights community is working very hard to bring awareness to the general public and to people with influence and power. One of the prominent leaders of the global, human rights campaign is Thor Halvorssen. The 39-year-old Venezuelan native is the president of the Human Rights Foundation, he is a member of the Children’s Peace Movement, and he is the founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, which organizes an annual human rights festival in the U.S., U.K. And Norway. Halvorssen’s life as an activist began in 1989, at the age of 13, when he organized events against the apartheid-based, South African regime.
Halvorssen is not only a human rights advocate; rather, he is a proxy victim of injustice as his mother and father were both victims of human rights violations by the Venezuelan government. In 1993, his father was stripped of his role as ambassador and imprisoned and tortured for 74 days for highlighting corruption and drug trafficking committed by Venezuelan officials. His father was even the target of the famed drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
Halvorssen’s mother was victimized when Venezuelan security forces shot into a crowd of protesters during a peaceful demonstration. She was shot and survived her injuries, but one individual was killed and 12 others were wounded. The gunmen were found guilty of the shooting; however, they only served six months in prison.
Thor Halvorssen has used his passion and personal hardships as motivation to propel the issues of human mistreatment in the global community. He has advocated against anti-slave labor in China, and he has released featured films documenting various human rights issues. One of his films, The Sugar Babies, received critical acclaim and a lot of controversy as it explored the exploitation of migrant Haitian farm workers in the Dominican Republic.