COSATU media statement on IAAF prejudice against Caster Semenya

COSATU has noted that the International Association of Athletics and Federation (IAFF) has persisted in its campaign against Caster Semenya in particular, and other women with what they call “unnaturally high testosterone levels”, who have this physical condition that is not within their control. The currently suspended rule (pending Caster’s legal challenge) on testosterone will take away Caster’s rights to identify as a woman and thus participate in women’s events, and will force her to take testosterone-suppressing drugs if she wants to participate or participate in male competitions.

The federation continues to be shocked that Caster Semenya’s womanhood and her status as a female is being put under question by the IAAF. What levels will this prejudicial behaviour not climb to, to dehumanise and negate Caster Semenya for her stellar performance?

COSATU has noted that this personal and backward attack of Caster has been devoid of any respect for Caster’s human rights: her right to identity; her right to bodily integrity and her right to privacy have all been violated by an international institution that ought to know better. COSATU has it on good authority that participation in the 1500 metre race will give her no added advantage and yet she is restricted even in running in this race. This is clear persecution and prejudicial treatment of Caster Semenya who will not gain any advantage if she participates in the 1500 metre race.

COSATU is calling on all its trade union affiliates, all gender and human rights activists and all South African institutions and organisations worth their salt to stand up in support of Caster Semenya. We are ready to join forces with all progressive institutions and organisations to stand with Caster Semenya.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794