Sonia Pierre – Dominican Republic

Linked with International Women’s Rights Action Watch irwaw, with The Dominican Republic Country Report, and with the Movement for Dominican Women of Haitian Decent MUDHA.

She says: “This award strengthens our work at MUDHA, our institution, and our communities,? said Sonia upon receiving the award. ?As a human rights activist, who has been fighting for the recognition of the human rights of Haitian immigrants and their descendents, since an early age, I owe this award to the communities MUDHA supports, to my colleagues and to all who believed in our work”.

Under Sonia’s leadership, MUDHA has risen to protect the rights of the Dominican Republic?s Haitian immigrants and their descendants and to empower women and children in the face of deep rooted discrimination and intolerance. Despite threats against her life, Sonia has been a driving force for change and a leader in the movement to end human rights violations against Haitians in the Dominican Republic. (Read all on caribeannetnews.com).

Sonia Pierre - Dominican Republic seule.jpg

Sonia Pierre – Dominican Republic

She works for the Movement for Dominican Women of Haitian Decent MUDHA.

Like thousands of ethnic Haitians born in the Dominican Republic, Sonia Pierre’s family had previously crossed the border in search of greater work opportunities than were available to them in Haiti. While the sugar-cane fields of the Dominican Republic provided jobs to migrant workers who sought to eke out a subsistence living, such workers were viewed as both a valuable source of cheap labor to the Dominican economy and as dark-skinned undesirables who belonged to the margins of Dominican society.
A Question of Identity: The anti-Haitian sentiment which, in the eyes of the young Sonia, characterized the treatment of ethnic Haitians throughout mainstream Dominican society has continued to this day unabated, according to Ms. Pierre, notwithstanding mounting pressure from international organizations and human rights groups. “In my country, Dominican children of Haitian descent suffer discrimination from the moment they are born,” Ms. Pierre said in Spanish, her voice choked with emotion upon accepting the award. “The Dominican Constitution established that all who are born in the Dominican Republic are Dominicans. However, the authorities refuse to issue birth certificates to the children of Haitian immigrants born in the country.”


Despite Article 11 of the Dominican Republic’s Constitution, which bestows citizenship on anyone born within the borders of the Dominican Republic, babies born to Dominico-Haitians and Haitian immigrants — many of whom had been living in the Dominican Republic for decades — are often said to be infants of those who are “in transit” and thus not eligible for citizenship, as also written in the Constitution. (Read all on Wordpress.org, December 19, 2006).

Dominican activist Sonia Pierre recovering from heart surgery, Extracted from Boston Herald.com. – The Boston Herald’s web site today reports that theominican human rights activist, Sonia Pierre, was recovering Tuesday from heart surgery, an operation that came about after a fortuitous medical examination in Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Capitol Hill office, the doctor who arranged the procedure said. According to Boston Herald.com, Sonia Pierre’s heart condition was discovered in November, when she was in Washington to receive the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award honoring her for her work fighting discrimination against Haitian descendants. The Herald recounts that, while in Kennedy’s office, Pierre agreed to an examination by Dr. John C. Baldwin, a cardiac surgeon and member of the board of directors for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, which gives the annual human rights award. Baldwin, chief executive of the Boston-based CBR Institute for Biomedical Research Inc., an affiliate of Harvard University, said he’d been asked by the family to inquire about Pierre’s health. “She told me she was having a lot of trouble with shortness of breath,” he said. “I listened to her heart, with her permission, and determined she needed immediate attention.” (Read the whole article on Dominican Today, Jan. 10, 2007).

Sonia Pierre Receives Ginetta Sagan Award: Kicking off the 2003 annual meeting, Sonia Pierre, executive director of Movimiento de Mujeres de Dominico-Haitianas, Inc (MUDHA), graciously accepted this year’s Ginetta Sagan Award. “This prize is dedicated to all the people who believe in dignity,” Ms. Pierre said during her address. (Read all on AmnestyUSA.org).

She says: “I find inspiration in the life of Robert F. Kennedy because I believe that our efforts and his are part of the same fight for equality and justice. He lived during a time when United States authorities denied the African-American community their fundamental rights: the right to education, to vote, to property. He witnessed the violence that discrimination and racism provoke: lynchings, assassinations and political repression. In spite of political difficulties, he used all the means available to him to create change. He refused to negotiate with the rights of the people and confronted the legacy of slavery, demanding respect for civil rights. Like Robert Kennedy, I live in a time of racism, discrimination and violence. The community to which I belong, that of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent, is among the poorest and most vulnerable and is subject to the cruelest denial of its basic rights. In my country, Dominican children of Haitian descent suffer discrimination from the moment they are born. The Dominican Constitution establishes that all who are born in the Dominican Republic are Dominicans. However, the authorities refuse to issue birth certificates to the children of Haitian immigrants born in the country … (Read her whole speach on huffingtonpost.com).

Statelessness is not one of the most commonly known human rights violations, but this fact needs to change, said moderator Julia Harrington, senior legal officer of the Open Society Justice Initiative. State protection facilitates all human rights, while the lack of citizenship is often used by states to justify severely limiting individual rights. Individuals who are not recognized by any state as citizens suffer restrictions on their freedom of movement, freedom of expression, ownership of lands, access to livelihoods, political participation, and many other rights such as access to health care and education. It’s no coincidence, Harrington said, that stateless people are members of social groups that suffer discrimination at many levels. (Read the whole speach on Soros.org).

Dominican Government says the world and the U.S. turn their backs on Haiti: SANTO DOMINGO. – Foreign minister Carlos Morales Troncoso warned that Dominican Republic is not in a condition to accept or integrate the thousands of undocumented immigrants, because it’s a country with its own and pressing problems of jobs, poverty, education and health services, and criticized the United States for not providing more aid to the impoverished Caribbean nation. In a letter to Mrs. Ethel Kennedy, of the Robert F. Kennedy Prize, based in Washington, DC, Morales states that under a considerable cost Dominican Republic provides those services to Haitians, while the world is turns its back on Haiti’s citizens who escape the horrible existing conditions in their own nation. (Read the whole on Dominican Today).

Ce jeudi 25 août, à la vue des corps calcinés des trois jeunes Haitiens assassinés la semaine dernière en République Dominicaine, la délégation multisectorielle haitienne ne parvient pas à contenir sa consternation. Il est environ 18:00 lorsque les cercueils de Gilbert Dominique (22 ans), Willy Pierre (20 ans) et Paul Marc (19 ans) sont livrés aux représentants des organismes de défense des droits humains haïtiens et dominicains, des anciens rapatriés et des représentants d’autres secteurs au niveau de la frontière haitiano-dominicaine de Malpasse … Selon Sonia Pierre, « en deux mois, 24 Haitiens sont morts dans des circonstances peu claires, et le suivi judiciaire traine ». Elle presse les gouvernements des deux pays à prendre des dispositions pour freiner ces actes. (Lire le tout sur AlterPresse, du 26 août 2005, par Fleurival Ladenson).

FORUM dr1.com, to debate issues about the Dominican Republic.

links:

Dominican official blasts U.S. group for awarding rights activist;

For Those Who Still Believe People of Color Can’t Be Racist, Sonia Pierre Has a Story for You;

Tequila Minsky, Heritagekonpa Magazine;

STATEMENT BY SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY AT ROBERT F. KENNEDY MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD CEREMONY;

Une proposition en faveur des enfants d’immigrants illégaux, Editorial du 5 Janvier 2007 – La mesure n’a pas encore été adoptée. Elle a été proposée par un juge à la Junte Centrale Electorale dominicaine, qui est responsable du recensement de la population et du registre des étrangers résidant dans le pays … (lire le tout dans ‘Haiti en marche.com‘, [descent vers le bas, click sur 'suite'] pour trouver l’article en bas de la page suivante).

Comments are closed.