Sports Minister calls Semenya ruling ‘unfortunate’

Caster Semenya's fight to run internationally is on-going following another recent setback. Picture: Getty Images

The Sports Minister has called on South Africans to get behind Semenya and show her support by backing her in her fight against injustice.

Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called the Swiss Federal Court’s decision to uphold the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the World Athletics regulations on female athletes with differences of sexual development “unfortunate” and “offensive” to the fundamental human rights of female athletes classified as hyperandrogenic.

This follows the lost appeal by South African track star Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa in their legal tussle with the global athletics body.

Mthethwa said the South African government always held a firm view that the regulations “are a gross violation of fundamental human rights of DSD female athletes.”

“As the government of democratic South Africa, a country renowned for its tradition of promoting and protecting basic human rights, together with Athletics SA, we will study the judgement and consider various options and avenues at our disposal in our collective campaign to fight this injustice,” Mthethwa said in his statement.

“We call upon all South Africans, Africans and the entire world to rally behind Caster in our quest to defeat injustice against women in sport and in particular African women.”

In March 2019, during Human Rights month, all political parties represented in Parliament of the Republic of South Africa made statements which were unanimous and unambiguous in the condemnation and classification of the regulation as violation of both women and human rights and committed their unequivocal support for Semenya.

On the medical front, the World Medical Association (WMA) also condemned these regulations and called upon all doctors and medical scientists across the globe to take no part in their implementation.

In a statement in April last year, the WMA demanded immediate withdrawal of the regulations as they constitute a flagrant discrimination based on genetic variation of female athletes and are contrary to international medical ethics.

The organisation also expressed fears that athletes like Semenya would be coerced to take unjustified medication not based on medical need, and further indicated that it is unethical for physicians to prescribe treatment for endogenous testosterone if the condition is not recognised as pathological.

Essentially this means these regulations are not only a violation of human and women rights but their administration is considered unethical by the experts in the field of medical science.

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