(1963 – December 4, 2011)
LifePierre was born in Villa Altagracia, San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic, in 1963 to parents of Haitian descent. One of twelve children, she was raised in a migrant worker camp called a batey, where many of the Dominican Republic's people of Haitian descent live. Her birth certificate lists her name as Solain Pie, which Pierre "says is the result of an error by a government clerk." Her nationality was disputed by some on the grounds that her birth certificate is forged, the residence status of her Haitian parents and the lack of evidenciary documentation from Haiti.
At the age of 13, she organized a five-day protest by sugar cane workers on one of the country's bateyes, which lead to her being arrested. However, the protest attracted enough public attention that the workers' demands—namely, to have their living quarters painted and be given better tools and pay raises—were met.
DeathOn December 4, 2011, Pierre died at the age of 48 from a heart attack while being rushed to the hospital in Villa Altagracia, San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.
WorkPierre worked as director of the non-governmental organization Movement for Dominican Women of Haitian Descent (MUDHA), which aims to end antihaitianismo or bias against individuals from Haiti in the Dominican Republic.
In 2005, Pierre petitioned the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the case of two ethnic Haitian children who were denied Dominican birth certificates. Called Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic, the case "upheld human rights laws prohibiting racial discrimination in access to nationality and citizenship." The court also ordered the Dominican government to provide the birth certificates.
However, the Dominican Supreme Court later ruled that "Haitian workers were considered 'in transit,' and that their children were therefore not entitled to citizenship."
Awards and honorsFor her work, Pierre won the 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award handed down by former US Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, but NOT on behalf of the US Congress.(see. U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy said of her that "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."
Pierre also won Amnesty International's 2003 Human Rights Ginetta Sagan Fund Award, and she and MUDHA were nominated for the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education in 2002.
She was honored by the United States Department of State with a 2010 International Women of Courage Award.
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