For immediate Release: 18 February 2019
To: Editors, Producers and Reporters
CGE Supports Caster Semenya against New IAAF Regulation
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) publicly declares its support for Caster Semenya who, today, is challenging the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland on the IAAF’s recent modification of its regulation to require female athletes to maintain testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per liter for a continuous period of at least six months.
The CGE is opposed to this new IAAF regulation based on our strong conviction that the effects and impact of this new regulation will be detrimental and therefore amount to a severe violation of the rights of female athletes like Caster Semenya whose body produces what is considered by the IAAF as ‘unnaturally high’ levels of testosterone.
South Africa’s Constitution grants the Commission powers, as regulated in terms of the Commission for Gender Equality Act of 1996, to monitor, investigate, research, educate, lobby, advise and report on matters concerning the right to gender equality. The right to gender equality is associated with others such as the right to privacy, human dignity and bodily integrity, amongst others.
Based on the above, the Commission is convinced that the IAAF’s recent modification of its regulation amounts to a severe violation of the right to bodily integrity, human dignity and privacy for athletes like Caster Semenya whose bodies, through no fault of their own, produce what is considered high levels of testosterone. The Commission is therefore strongly determined to mount a national campaign of activism and support for Caster Semenya and other female athletes who fall foul of the new IAAF’s regulation.
The CGE calls upon its partners from government, civil society, faith-based organisations, private sector and other key stakeholders and activists to join hands with the Commission for Gender Equality in a national campaign of activism in support of Caster Semenya and other female athletes in a similar position.
We call upon the South African Government, as a signatory to a range of international protocols and declarations on the rights of women, to use its International offices and diplomatic channels to bring pressure to bear on the IAAF to reverse this decision and allow Caster Semenya and other affected female athletes to compete free of unethical restrictions that impact negatively on the right to bodily integrity.
Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
Date: 18 February 2019
Contact Person: Javu Baloyi
Tel: 083 579 3306
The Commission for Gender Equality
The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.
Twitter Handle: @CGE_ZA. Facebook Page: Gender Commission of South Africa. Toll Free Number: 0800 007 709. GBV Toll Free Number: 0800 428 428, Stop Gender Violence : 0800 150 150 Witness, Survivors and victims of GBV can send Please Call Me at *120*7867#
Tags: CAS, Caster Semenya, CGE, Court of Arbitration for Sports, IAAF