Thor Halvorssen puts on the Oslo Freedom Forum annually. This meeting of human rights advocates in Oslo, Norway, has occurred since 2012. It is not only one of the highlights for advocates every year, but is widely covered by the news. One of the highlights each year occurs on the last morning of the May forum when the Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent is given out to a deserving participant.
The award is named after Vaclav Havel who was a playwright. Vaclav was a dissident who served as the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic. His widow was very instrumental in seeing that this award was established in 2012.One of the winners of the award in 2016 was Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani. She was imprisoned for 18 months after she drew a cartoon portraying the Iranian government as monkeys and goats in protest over Iran’s victim sterilization law. She could not be quieted inside prison sending numerous letters and video showing the deplorable conditions there.
When the case finally came to court a second time, she was formerly charged with illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery and indecent conduct because she shook the hand of her lawyer.Thor Halvorssen believes that Atena Farghadani might still be in prison except for the use of social media. Other cartoonists started sharing her message using #draw4atena across many social media platforms. Soon, the group received public attention as their message quickly spread.The award will be given out at the 2017 Oslo Freedom Forum organized by Thor. You are invited to apply to attend the convention. If that is not possible, then you are invited to watch the event at your leisure on the Human Rights Foundation website.