Local December 5, 2011 | 7:41 am

Human rights activist Sonia Pierre passes away(Update)

VILLA ALTAGRACIA, Dominican Republic.- Haitian-Dominican rights activist Sonia Pierre died Sunday after suffering strong chest pains, while in her farm around 30 miles north of the capital, Santo Domingo.

Pierre, who headed the Dominican-Haitian Women’s Movement (MUDHA), which defended the rights of Dominicans of Haitian ancestry, was taken to a hospital at 12:45pm, but died en route. She was 48.

According to Doctor Mario Jose Rondón, her relatives said the activist had suffered strong chest pains; and from Pierre’s history of heart ailments, presumes "that she had an acute infarct to the myocardium," during the 45 minute ride to hospital.

Rondón added that Pierre’s relatives informed him that she had a pacemaker, and was hypertensive, but hadn’t taken her medicine to the farm.

United States Embassy issues statement

Santo Domingo – The Embassy of the United States of America expresses its most sincere condolences to the surviving family members of Dominican human rights activist Sonia Pierre and to all the communities she touched in her lifelong fight against discrimination in the Dominican Republic.

In 2010, Ms. Pierre was among recipients of the U.S. Department of State’s International Women of Courage Award acknowledging outstanding women leaders worldwide who demonstrate courage and leadership in their struggles for social justice and human rights. The 2010 award honored Ms. Pierre “for advancing the cause of social justice, confronting exploitation and discrimination, defending the dignity of persons of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, and helping marginalized communities develop their own voices for their own future.”

In her words of praise for the work of Sonia Pierre, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton singled her out as among those personifying “the courage … to protect those who are vulnerable and to advance the circle of opportunity and prosperity to more people.”

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