Sonia Pierre was both lauded and harassed by the Dominican government for her work to protect the rights of people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. While the Dominican Government was threatening to revoke her citizenship, her photo was being displayed downtown Santo Domingo as a Dominican Hero.
I worked with her in 2008 as we were preparing a proposal to improve conditions in the the bateyes. I was impressed with her drive and vision as well as with the quality of the work that MUDHA was implementing.
Human rights work is thankless work. The Dominican government knows that it needs to have a clear, coherent policy towards dealing with Haitian migrants, but it is split. There are those who want the cheap labor and those who want to protect Dominican jobs--just as we have in the United States. Haiti has the same split--because Haiti cannot provide jobs or liveable conditions for so many of its citizens, it needs the escape valve provided by the Dominican Republic while at the same time deploring the way its citizens are treated. I saw this as an unsolveable problem and did not focus on it. Sonia Pierre saw this important work and devoted her life to it.