Govt goes to UN over Semenya

2009-09-14 10:54
Johannesburg - The government has written to the United Nations to investigate whether athlete Caster Semenya has been treated in line with its protocols on gender and equality, a statement said on Monday.

The letter, by Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, to the UN's Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), argues that there has been a blatant disregard for Semenya's human dignity.

The 18-year-old sports science student is embroiled in a controversy over her gender since winning a gold medal for the 800m in the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) Berlin meeting last month.

Last week an Australian newspaper claimed that IAAF tests showed that her body contained both male and female organs.

Three violations

The IAAF has not commented on this, but in the meantime Mayende-Sibiya believes the matter violates at least three international commitments governed by the UN on protection and promotion of rights of women.

She argues that it undermines article 13 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women which requires that measures be put in place to eliminate discrimination and promote the rights of women to participate in sports.

It violates the Beijing Platform for Action which calls for gender-sensitive programmes for girls and women of all ages and support in all areas of athletics including coaching and administration at the national, regional and international levels.

It also contradicts the Brighton Declaration of 1994 which called for a sporting culture that values and enables the full involvement of women in every aspect of sport.

"The equal opportunity to be involved in sport for leisure or for competition, is the right of all women and men, girls and boys.

Call for UN to investigate

"I would therefore like to request that the UN Division for Advancement of Women investigates this matter as it has severe consequences for women participation in sports globally," she wrote in her letter to DAW director Carolyn Hannan.

"There should be some degree of transparency from the IAAF about the sequence of events that led to Miss Semenya's gender being subjected to such unjustified public scrutiny," Minister Mayende-Sibiya states in her letter.

She argued that in terms of South Africa law governing the population register, Semenya is a woman.

"The questioning of her gender is based on [a] stereotypic view of the physical features and abilities attributable to women. Such stereotypes demonstrate the extent of patriarchy within the world's sporting community," she said.

Read more on:    noluthando mayende-sibiya  |  caster semenya

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Device lets disabled people talk through their nose

A device that converts nose breaths into speech will open new doors for people with Parkinson’s or motor neuron disease.


For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Indirect Tax Manager (AA/EE)

Cape Town CBD
Network Finance Sunninghill
R400 000 - R620 000 Per Year

Sales Executive/Branch Manager- Paint (Killarney Gardens)

Cape Town
West Coast Personnel
R12 000 - R15 000 Per Month

Java Developer

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R40 000 - R45 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may take extra pride in your work today. You have a need to shine and be respected so you may put the extra effort and more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.