South African runner Caster Semenya, 800-metre Olympic gold medalist and world champion, arrives for the first day of her hearing at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, in February. File photo by Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP.

Durban- The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday adopted a resolution tabled by South Africa to defend Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya's rights to participate in sport. 

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said via an emailed statement on Thursday night that the resolution was adopted at the UNHRC's 46th session by consensus and without a vote.

The middle-distance world champion is challenging proposals by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) looking to restrict natural testosterone levels found in female athletes. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has said it would make its ruling by March 26. 

Thursday's resolution was "aimed at eliminating discrimination against women and girls in sport, giving significant global weight from a human rights perspective to Caster Semenya’s case," said Dirco. 

South Africa presented the resolution and was 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 Dirco minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
This was the first time that the human rights system had held international sport associations to account for their obligations under international human rights law, said the statement.

African News Agency/ANA