Civil rights activist, Carter administration official dies

Patricia M. Derian, who actively supported Mississippi public school desegregation and served as assistant secretary of state for human rights during the Carter administration, has died.

Derian’s son, Michael Derian, confirmed his mother died early Friday. She was 86.

Derian, former President Jimmy Carter’s assistant secretary of state for human rights, made the Argentine Dirty War one of her top causes. Though the Argentine military denounced Derian’s interference, the lives of some high-profile captives were spared as a result.

In a statement Friday, Carter expressed sadness on hearing of Derian’s death. He described her as a “champion of oppressed people around the world” who helped him exert pressure on dictatorships from Argentina to South Korea.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

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