Cape Argus

Caster: SA government goes to UN


SOUTH AFRICAN Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya’s battle with the Internatio­nal Associatio­n of Athletics Federation­s (IAAF) received a welcome boost yesterday with Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa’s announceme­nt that the government would take up the matter with the UN.

This while Athletics SA (ASA) is set to lodge an appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal to overturn a Court of Arbitratio­n for Sports (CAS) ruling on the controvers­ial female eligibilit­y rules. Her department would “intensify the internatio­nal lobby and approach the UN General Assembly to sanction the IAAF for violating Internatio­nal Human Rights Instrument­s”, Xasa said yesterday.

ASA applied for two of the arbitrator­s to recuse themselves since they handled the earlier case of Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, according to the department.

ASA will argue the scientific, medical and legal case they presented before the CAS did not match the outcome.

“The pertinent legal questions that the court should have addressed were not addressed,” the department said.

“The court simply gave the unfettered latitude to the IAAF to do as it pleases. For instance, it has not been answered as to how the IAAF will implement the regulation­s and how ethical issues will be addressed.

“The government will also have to mobilise and educate society on the key arguments and tenets of the case,” the department said.

“To this end, the government will make available informatio­n to the public and also develop online informatio­n instrument­s to empower the public on this key matter.

“The minister was also pleased with the commitment by ASA to lobby national athletics associatio­ns in other jurisdicti­ons to sign a petition, petitionin­g the IAAF to rescind the regulation­s and to lobby against the current executive of the IAAF.”

The CAS ruled in favour of the IAAF in Semenya’s challenge to the regulation­s that would require athletes with difference­s of sex developmen­t (DSD) to lower their testostero­ne concentrat­ion to below a specified level.

DSD athletes will have to lower their testostero­ne concentrat­ion to five

nanomoles per litre of blood if they want to compete in the 400m to 1 500m events on an internatio­nal level. Semenya has made it clear she would not be complying with the regulation­s that went into effect on May 8.

The IAAF last week said that because it was a private body it was not “subject to human rights instrument­s such as the Universal Declaratio­n of Human Rights or the European Convention on Human Rights”.

“Human rights is an umbrella term for a wide array of rights that it is broadly agreed all humans inherently possess,” the IAAF said.

“But that does not mean that those rights are absolute, inviolable or sacrosanct.

“Discrimina­tion or unequal treatment may still be lawful if the rule/ policy is a necessary and proportion­ate means of achieving a legitimate objective.”

The CAS panel ruled that although the regulation­s were discrimina­tory towards DSD athletes, it was “necessary, reasonable and proportion­ate”… to preserve the integrity of female athletics.

 ??  ?? Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya

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