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Sports Dept welcomes UN Human Rights Council decision to defend Semenya

The Council adopted a resolution tabled by South Africa at the UN which is aimed at eliminating discrimination against women and girls in sports.

FILE: South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya celebrates winning gold in the Women's 800m final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia on 13 April 2018. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Sports and Recreation has welcomed the decision by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to defend South Africa Olympic champion Caster Semenya as she contests proposed regulations by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The Council adopted a resolution tabled by South Africa at the UN which is aimed at eliminating discrimination against women and girls in sports.

Semenya is currently in a legal tussle with the federation after it proposed laws that seek to have athletes with differences in sexual development forced to seek treatment to lower their naturally occurring testosterone levels.

The department has slammed the proposed regulations as sexist and vowed to throw its full weight behind the Olympic champion

Spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said: “We are delighted, naturally, that countries of the world in the form of the UN have echoed our sentiments; that this is a human rights violation of Caster Semenya and other women athletes in general.”

The decision of the UN Council marks the first time that the human rights system holds international sports associations to account.

The case is before the court of arbitration for sport in Switzerland.

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