ASA humbled by UN's support for Semenya

Caster Semenya (AP)
Caster Semenya (AP)

Cape Town - Athletics South Africa (ASA) stated on Friday that they were humbled by the unanimous resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during their 46th session on Thursday to defend Caster Semenya's rights to participate as a female in sport.

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ASA and Semenya are currently awaiting the outcome of the arbitration proceedings filed by Semenya and Athletics South Africa at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) held in Lausanne on February 18-22 concerning the IAAF Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sex Development).

The decision was originally scheduled to be delivered on the March 26 but after the IAAF filed late submissions to cause amendments to be made to the regulations, Semenya and ASA had to respond thereto with the result that a decision is now expected at the end of April 2019.

Tabled by the government of South Africa, the UN resolution was adopted by consensus and without a vote and is aimed at eliminating discrimination against women and girls in sport, giving significant global weight from a human rights perspective to the Semenya/ASA's case.

The resolution co-sponsored by the Kingdom of Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, India, Iceland and Canada, adds to the wave of global and local support led by State President Ramaphosa, the government, parliament, medical, legal, leading celebrities, civil society and a cross spectrum of public opinion.

In a statement, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu said: "The international community has a duty to protect and defend the rights of Caster Semenya and other female athletes 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."

In ASA's press release, they ended off: "ASA thanks all persons for their continued support towards this noble cause to correct an injustice that the IAAF wishes to impose on Semenya and all other affected female athletes like her."

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