The treatment of South African sportswoman, Caster Semenya, by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is unjust, sexist, dehumanising and should be condemned by all human rights proponents in the world.
This is the view issued by the Presiding Officers of South African Parliament, Speaker Baleka Mbete of the National Assembly and Chairperson Thandi Modise of the National Council of Provinces. And they have vowed to fight the IAAF to the bitter end.
In a statement issued over the weekend presiding officers condemned the IAAF move to introduce regulations that appear to be targeted at Semenya. The IAAF introduced regulations that prescribe a maximum of five-nanomoles of testosterone per litre of blood and a hormonal treatment of women athletes with higher measurements. These appear to be targeted towards Semenya’s categories.
These regulations are discriminatory and appear like a “blatant efforts to eliminate her,” said the presiding officers of South African parliament.
“The targeted introduction of the regulations as unjust, sexist, dehumanizing and should be condemned by all human rights proponents in the world. Physiques of African women have and continue to suffer unjustified and racially humiliating scrutiny and mockery. This must stop.”
“Such an act should be rejected with the contempt it deserves as it threatens, not just Caster’s career, but the sacrosanct principles of fairness, justice and equality in global sports. The act also threatens the entire generation of young girls from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds who are inspired by her to break the proverbial glass ceilings in their careers of choice.
“The IAAF’s conduct is a danger to the future of next generations of particularly African sportswomen, who will he confronted with similar apartheid-type targeted regulations if their talent and hard work becomes a threat to their counterparts from the rest of the world.
“The Presiding Officers are calling on sister Parliaments under international legislative bodies such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to take a stand and reject the IAAF’s blatant old-fashioned prejudice, which has no scientific foundation. The international athletics body’s actions are an open violation of human rights principles enunciated in the founding documents of the United Nations and, if not rejected, will continue systematically destroying individual athletes with impunity and bringing the entire global sports into disrepute.”
The statement added that the South African parliament will work with government and sports bodies in efforts aimed at supporting Semenya and fight the IAAF regulations.”
Respected political analyst Steven Freidman added his voice on the matter via a Facebook post. He said “The IAAF’s attempt to ban Caster Semenya has been rightly condemned as racist, sexist and homophobic. There seems to be nothing more to say.
“But one aspect needs more attention. It is surely particularly awful to decree that a person can only earn their living if they take chemicals to alter the make-up of their body. I don’t think it is exaggerating to say that this is the kind of mindset which leads people to conduct laboratory tests on human beings because who they are is so unacceptable that you feel entitled to use them as human guinea pigs.
“To demand that a person change who they are by using chemicals must be a crime against humanity. Surely civilised people should have nothing to do with the IAAF until it turns its back on this crime and promises to treat all humans with respect?”