The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday adopted a resolution tabled by South Africa to defend Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya’s rights to participate in sport.
#SouthAfrica presents groundbreaking resolution at #HRC40 on multiple & intersecting forms of discrimination agst women & girls in sport, calling for respect for the bodily integrity and autonomy of women and girls with differences of sex development. Resn adopted without a vote
— John Fisher (@JohnFisher_hrw) March 21, 2019
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said via an emailed statement on Thursday night that the resolution was adopted at the UNHRC’s 46th session by consensus and without a vote.
The middle-distance world champion is challenging proposals by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) looking to restrict natural testosterone levels found in female athletes. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has said it would make its ruling by 26 March.
Thursday’s resolution was “aimed at eliminating discrimination against women and girls in sport, giving significant global weight from a human rights perspective to Caster Semenya’s case,” said Dirco.
South Africa presented the resolution and was grateful to all members of the council and to civil society for rallying behind the resolution, which was co-sponsored by Eswatini (Swaziland), Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, India, Iceland and Canada.
“The international community has a duty to protect and defend the rights of Caster Semenya and other female athlete like her across the world, based on the premise that their human rights are being violated. The international campaign to preserve Caster’s right to participate in global sports is a struggle for all women in the world against discrimination, sexism, and patriarchy,” said Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu.
This was the first time that the human rights system had held international sport associations to account for their obligations under international human rights law, said the statement.
– African News Agency