Caster Semenya turns to football
Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya, the two-time Olympic champion in the 800 meters, has been ruled as a victim of discrimination by the European Court of Human Rights. The court’s judgement pertains to regulations that forced her to lower her testosterone levels in order to continue participating in competitions.

Semenya’s human rights were found to have been violated by the court.

Semenya, who was legally identified as female at birth but has a condition resulting in naturally higher testosterone levels, has been unable to compete in her favored distance since 2019. The introduction of testosterone level limits for female athletes would have required her to use medication to comply with the regulations.

The European Court of Human Rights determined that Semenya had not been provided with sufficient institutional and procedural safeguards in Switzerland to effectively address her complaints. The court acknowledged her substantiated and credible claims of discrimination resulting from her increased testosterone levels caused by differences in sex development (DSD).

The court’s ruling highlighted the violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination, and Article 13, which guarantees effective remedies to tackle such discrimination. The majority decision by the court’s representatives concluded that Semenya’s rights under these articles had been infringed upon.

World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, released a statement responding to the court’s ruling. They maintain that the regulations on testosterone levels are necessary, reasonable, and proportionate to ensure fair competition in the female category. They plan to collaborate with the Swiss Government and encourage them to seek a referral of the case to the ECHR Grand Chamber for a final and definitive decision.


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