Geneva - The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday adopted a resolution tabled by South Africa to defend athlete Caster Semenya's rights to participate in sport.
The resolution, adopted in the 46th session by consensus and without a vote is aimed at eliminating discrimination against women and girls in sport, giving significant global weight from a human rights perspective to Semenya's case.
Semenya, a world champion in the 800m, is challenging proposals by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that aim to restrict female athletes' testosterone levels.
South Africa presented the resolution and is grateful to all members of the council and to civil society for rallying behind the resolution, which was co-sponsored by Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, India, Iceland and Canada.
"The international community has a duty to protect and defend the rights of Caster Semenya and other female athlete 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," said Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu.
This is the first time that the human rights system holds international sport associations to account for their obligations under international human rights law.
Meanwhile, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Thursday that it was delaying until next month its ruling on a challenge filed by Semenya against the IAAF.
A decision in the controversial case had been due next week, but the world's top sport court said it would not issue a verdict "until the end of April" because both sides had filed additional material since the hearing in February.