Media Statement

United Nations Human Rights Council adopts Resolution to support Caster Semenya, Geneva, UNHRC, 21 March 2019

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today adopted a resolution tabled by South Africa to defend Caster Semenya’s rights to participate in sport.

The Resolution, adopted in the 40th 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 Caster Semenya’s case.

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.

South Africa is pleased that the Human Rights Council rallied behind Caster Semenya and athletes like her, and did so on South Africa’s Human Rights Day Celebration.

Enquiries: Ndivhuwo Mabaya, or +27 83 645 7838


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