The Special Olympic team sent to Atlanta, Georgia (USA) in 1996, including the names of the team members, and the alleged arrest of three members upon their return [MAR30982.E]

Please note that there is a clear distinction between the Special Olympics and the Paralympics: the Special Olympics "involves over 500,000 athletes from 8 to 80 with mental retardation. ... [whereas the] Paralympics provides world-level competition for elite athletes with any disability" (Special Olympics International 1999; USOC 1998a).

The Special Olympics were not held in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996 (Special Olympics 7 Jan. 1999; Special Olympics International 1999), but the Paralympics were (ibid.; AP 15 Aug. 1996; USPS 1 May 1996; USOC 1998a).

The Special Olympics holds World Games every two years, alternating between Summer and Winter Games (Special Olympics International 1999). The ninth Special Olympics World Summer Games took place in New Haven, Connecticut (USA) in July 1995 and the most recent Special Olympics World Winter Games took place in Toronto in February 1997. (ibid.). There are over 15,000 Special Olympics competitive events around the world (ibid.).

The first Paralympic Games were held in 1960 and since then have been held every Olympic (summer and winter) year, usually in the same city or country that hosts the Olympic Games (Special Olympics International 1999; USPS 1 May 1996; USOC 1998a). Following the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Atlanta, Georgia, hosted the ten-day Paralympic Games that began on 15 August 1996 (ibid.; Special Olympics International 1999; AP 15 Aug. 1996; USPS 1 May 1996). Approximately 3,500 disabled athletes from 120 nations competed (ibid.; Special Olympics International 1999; USPS 1 May 1996). Competitors in the Paralympics are "elite athletes with physical or visual impairments, representing either four or five international federations: (1) Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association, (2) International Blind Sports Association, (3) International Stroke-Mandevill Wheelchair Sports Federation, (4) International Sports Organization for the Disabled (USPS 1 May 1996; USOC 1998b) and (5 ) International Association for Mentally Handicapped (ibid.).

No reports of Morocco's participation in the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Associated Press (AP). 15 August 1996. "Paralympic Athletes Promise Their Own Show in the Olympic City." [Internet] [Accessed 6 Jan. 1999]

Special Olympics, Inc, Washington, DC. 7 January 1999. Telephone interview with General Counsel.

Special Olympics International. 1999. "What Are the Paralympics?" [Internet] [Accessed 7 Jan. 1999]

United States Olympic Committee (USOC). 1998a. "The Games: Paralympic Overview." [Internet] [Accessed 26 Jan. 1999]

_____. 1998b. "The Games: Paralympic Overview: Representation." [Internet]

United States Postal Service (USPS). 1 May 1996. "1996 Olympic Games Stamps, Paralypmics Envelope Rate 'Gold Medal' For U.S. Postal Service." [Internet] [Accessed 26 Jan. 1999]

Additional Sources Consulted

United States Olympic Committee (USOC). 1998. "The Games: Atlanta Recap: the Paralympics." [Internet]

Electronic sources: Internet, NEXIS.

Non-documentary sources:

Unsuccessful attempts to contact:

Moroccan Paralympic Committee Association, Morocco.

International Paralympic Committee, Brussels.