- Human Rights Watch has publicly admonished the IAAF’s over the introduction of a new policy which will regulate testosterone levels in female athletes
- The new policy has been criticised by various quarters for unfairly targeting female athletes such as Caster Semenya
- Human Rights Watch has now openly called on the IAAF to revoke the regulation which it views as an extreme discrimination against women
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) an American-based human rights advocacy group has publicly admonished the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) over the proposed introduction of a new policy which will regulate the testosterone levels of certain female athletes.
The policy which is set to become official IAAF ‘law’ on 1 November will require female athletes who are described as hyper-androgynous to take medication in order to chemically lower the amount of testosterone which is naturally found in their bodies.
The proposed policy has been criticized by various quarters and in particular by the South African government who feel it is aimed squarely at Caster Semenya.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the HRW wrote a letter to the IAAF president Sebastian Coe urging him to scrap the introduction of the policy. The HRW’s Liesl Gerntholtz wrote that the policy represented extreme discrimination against women.
Gerntholtz said the eligibility requirements for female athletes in the policy amounted to discrimination against those females based purely on their gender and gender characteristics.
Sport24.com reported that she went on to say that regulation which calls for the invasive investigation into the naturally occurring hormone levels of any female athlete was a core form of judgement.
Gerntholtz said androgynous women remained women and should be granted the same rights to human dignity and bodily integrity as any other athlete and should not have to undergo medical treatment to alter something which they have no control over.
The IAAF proposed the policy after releasing a controversial study which it claimed proved that hyper-androgynous women could in certain circumstances and in certain events gain an unfair advantage over their competitors due to elevated levels of testosterone.
Semenya has lodged an appeal against the policy with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but has in her typical style since then let her performances do the talking. The court has not given any indication of when it will make a ruling on the matter but is currently investigating the appeal by Semenya.
Semenya has refused to be drawn into the matter and would only say that all she wants is to run without the intervention of medicines or treatments. She is currently taking part in the African championships in Nigeria.
Semenya was one of hundreds of athletes who were stranded in Nigeria after organisers failed to arrange flights from Lagos to the southern city of Asaba.
The event has been criticised by athletes, coaches, officials and journalists as being extremly poorly organised. Journalists arrived to find that there were no desks for them to work from and many resorted to working on the floor.
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