Minister Tokozile Xasa says the Department of Sport and Recreation will approach the UN General Assembly to sanction the IAAF for “violating international human rights instruments” in the Caster Semenya matter.
Xasa announced on Monday that government will support Athletics South Africa’s appeal against the outcome at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled that the IAAF can go ahead with implementing new regulations that police female athletes with high testosterone levels who compete in events from 400m to the mile.
Semenya challenged those rules at the CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, but the court ruled in the IAAF’s favour.
The Olympic and world 800m champion has 30 days from 1 May to file an appeal, and Sports Minister Xasa confirmed on Monday that ASA will be going to the Switzerland Federal Tribunal.
But apart from the CAS ruling, Xasa wants to take the matter to the United Nations as well.
“The Minister has also directed that the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa should work with other organs of State to intensify the international lobby and to approach the United Nations General Assembly to sanction the IAAF for violating International Human Rights Instruments,” a statement from the Sports Ministry read on Monday.
“The Government will also have to mobilise and educate society on the key arguments and tenets of the case.
“To this end, government will make available information to the public, and also develop online information instruments to empower the public on this key matter.”
“People fight me, I don't fight them. I live life and I enjoy it." @caster800m #NaturallySuperior #HandsOffCaster #WeStandbyCaster #CasterSemenya #IAAFRegulations #IAmWithCaster #WeAreMore #ThisIsNoLongerAboutCaster pic.twitter.com/T9x1hBPHG2— Dep. Sport & Rec (@SPORTandREC_RSA) May 5, 2019
In essence, Xasa said that having accepted the recommendations from a ‘high-level panel’ – made up of legal and medical experts – Athletics SA are challenging the CAS decision on the following three grounds:
1) “ASA applied for recusal of two of the arbitrators who it felt they were conflicted since they have handled the earlier case of the Indian sprinter, Dutee Chand, as Caster was also going to be an affected athlete.”
2) “The strength of scientific, medical and legal case we presented, we believe, the outcome is inconceivable on the fact. The facts before court and the outcome do not match.”
3) “The pertinent legal questions that the court should have addressed were not addressed. The court simply gave the unfettered latitude to the IAAF to do as it pleases. For instance, it has not been answered as to how the IAAF will implement the regulations, and how ethical issues will be addressed.”
Xasa added that ASA will lobby other local sporting bodies to sign a petition calling on the IAAF to “rescind the regulations and to lobby against the current executive of the IAAF”.
Semenya herself did not respond to the matter on Monday, although she posted a photo on Twitter.
Love and running. ❤ pic.twitter.com/qCWp56AqTX— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) May 13, 2019