Photo: Dominican Human Rights Activist Sonia Pierre Dies at 48
Sonia Pierre, the outspoken defender of the rights of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, died suddenly yesterday of a massive heart attack at the age of 48.
The director of the Forensic Institute, Dr. Santo Paez Jimenez, reported the death as the result of a sudden, massive infarction.
For over 30 years, Pierre had been at the forefront of the campaign for recognition of human rights for Haitian sugar cane workers and migrants in the Dominican Republic.
She was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for her work from Michelle Obama at the Kennedy Center. She was also recognized for her work in 2010 with the U.S. International Women of Courage Award. Shortly thereafter, Haitian President Rene Preval awarded her work with the Merit of Honor.
Often a controversial figure, Pierre was praised by many human rights activists but vilified by many Dominicans as being anti-patriotic and lived with constant death threats.