Caster Semenya Loses Appeal for Equal Treatment – South Africa

Caster Semenya Loses Appeal for Equal Treatment - South Africa

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has ruled that sport regulations that violate women’s rights can’t be struck down as inconsistent with Swiss public policy, dealing a blow to the rights of all women athletes.

The court came to the present conclusion despite finding that the regulations in question – which create a regime of discriminatory surveillance and medical interventions on women – violate fundamental human rights of the South African runner Caster Semenya.

The Swiss court was reviewing an appeal by Semenya, who has been targeted for a decade by variations of the regulations, and ruled ineligible to compete.

In 2019, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, upheld the foremost recent version of the regulations, which targets a subset of girls with variations of their sex characteristics and present elevated testosterone levels.

The regulations compel these women to undergo medical interventions or be forced out of competition. Identifying which athletes are impacted by the regulations are going to be done through subjecting all women athletes’ bodies to public scrutiny and requiring people who seem “suspect” to undergo a checkup .

Men athletes are subject to no such surveillance or compelled medical tests.


There is no clear scientific consensus that ladies with present higher-than-typical testosterone have a performance advantage in athletics. For these women athletes, being compelled to undergo a checkup are often humiliating and medically unnecessary, also as disrespectful of their rights.



The regulations target women in running events between 400 meters and 1 mile. Semenya’s favored event was the 800 meter race, during which she won the trophy within the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In a report published earlier this year, the Office of the United Nations diplomat for Human Rights recommends immediately revoking eligibility regulations for ladies athletes like those enforced by World Athletics, track and field’s global administration . the planet Medical Association has recommended that physicians round the world shouldn’t observe the regulations as they violate medical ethics. the choice from the Federal Supreme Court means the regulations will remain for now.

“I will still fight for the human rights of female athletes, both on the track and off the track, until we will all run free the way we were born,” Semenya said during a statement about Swiss ruling.

In this Olympic year, athletes are looking to the International Olympic Committee to line guidelines to guard women athletes from abusive and invasive surveillance, testing, and bans. Caster’s case shows how urgent this is often .

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