FIDU AND THE FREEDOM KAZAKHSTAN HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION LAUNCH A JOINT PROJECT: VOICES OF KAZAKHSTAN

Project objective: to provide the international community with information on the progress of the election campaign and the outcomes of the observation of the parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan; and to hold a parallel vote tabulation using Telegram chatbots for voters and observers.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the international community’s observers and journalists are unable to travel to Kazakhstan for the parliamentary elections on 10 January 2021. Therefore, FIDU, together with FKF, drawing on the election observation experience of Belarusian civil society, has developed a secure toolkit based on Telegram messenger to collect evidence of election violations and to count the votes on election day:

  • @alamankz_bot (chatbot for observers, https://t.me/alamankz_bot)
  • @baygekz_bot (chatbot for voters , https://t.me/baygekz_bot)

Each of the chatbots is equipped with a SOS button, which allows to contact volunteers urgently for reporting persecution/right violation.

The name for the chatbots comes from Kazakhstan’s tradition of horse racing. ALAMAN BAYGE (Kazakh spelling) is a type of baigue. Its main difference is its extra-long distance, which not every horse can manage. This description reflects the pre-election situation and the conditions in which civil society works to ensure the right to free expression of the will of the people of Kazakhstan.

According to reports by Kazakhstan’s human rights organisations, the parliamentary election campaign is accompanied by the harshest mass repressions:

  • more than 117 politically motivated criminal cases, 5 political killings.
  • a month before parliamentary election day, there was a “security certificate” test, which resulted in a complete shutdown of the Internet connection and social media.
  • the Central Electoral Commission announced restrictions on observers’ rights to record video and photo evidence of violations. Restrictions were imposed on the conduct of opinion polls during the pre-election period and on election day, as well as on the publication of the results of opinion polls.

Given these circumstances, FIDU, together with the human rights FKF, is pleased to provide Kazakhstanis with a tool to alert the international community in a secure manner about the parliamentary elections and the choices made on 10 January 2021 in order to ensure a parallel vote tabulation.

FIDU together with the Freedom Kazakhstan Foundation also invites all political parties, NGOs and their observers to co-operate in order to ensure maximum transparency and respect of rights of all participants of the parliamentary elections.

Register of observers on Telegram: @alamankz_bot or https://t.me/alamankz_bot

Read here the press release in Russian

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