On March 22, 2019 the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted without a vote a resolution on the elimination of discrimination against women and girls in sport including women born with variations of sex characteristics.
The resolution addresses the existing discriminatory regulations, rules and practices that require some women and girl athletes to medically reduce their blood testosterone levels as a response to the situation of Caster Semenya, a cisgender women and an athlete, born with a variation of sex characteristics, who is the target of 2018 IAAF regulations.
The resolution expresses concern that regulations, rules and practices that require women and girl athletes with differences of sex development, androgen sensitivity and levels of testosterone to medically reduce their blood testosterone levels may contravene international human rights norms and standards, including the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the right to sexual and reproductive health, the right to work and to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work, the right to privacy, the right to freedom from torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and full respect for the dignity, bodily integrity and bodily autonomy of the person.
The resolution, brought by South Africa, also requests the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to prepare a report on the intersection of race and gender discrimination in sports, including in policies, regulations and practices of sporting bodies.
The IUF-affiliated South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) organized a protest together with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and civil society organizations at the Embassy of Switzerland on International Women’s Day. This was also to show our support of the South Africa government position on Caster Semenya.
They handed over a memorandum of their concerns and demands on Caster Semenya’s discrimination case to the Swiss Embassy in South Africa, so that the demands can be raised with the UNHRC. The IUF welcomes this first UN resolution on the rights of intersex persons and congratulates SACCAWU for its contribution to this success.