Human rights activist dies
Sonia Pierre who fought discrimination against poor Dominicans of Haitian descent passed away yesterday.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Monday December 5, 2011- Award-winning human rights activist Sonia Pierre has died at the age of 48.
She passed away yesterday after complaining of chest pains.
Pierre was best known for standing up to discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian descent, which pitted her in an ongoing battle with the Dominican authorities.
She was recognized internationally for her struggles and received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for her work, an award from Amnesty International in 2003 and the International Women of Courage Award in 2010 from the US State Department.
Late Senator Edward Kennedy stated: “With certitude, I can affirm that Sonia is one of the most selfless, courageous and compassionate human beings of my generation. Sonia is very near the top of my list of heroines.”
Edwin Paraison, Executive Director of the Zile Foundation, a Haitian group that seeks to improve relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic described Pierre as a “sister”.
“The Haitian community has lost someone who was a huge advocate in the fight for Haitian rights,” Paraison told the Associated Press.
Pierre started organizing demonstrations at the age of 13 for workers on sugar cane fields and was subsequently arrested, and threatened with deportation to Haiti.
In 1981, she founded the organization, Women's Movement Dominicano-Haitian (MUDHA), which is dedicated to helping children of Haitians who live and suffer of discrimination in the country.