Children working for up to 12 hours a day, denied meals for disobeying at religious community in Bauska Region

  • 2020-08-20
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Following an inspection at Kalna Svetibu Kopiena (Mountain Blessing Community) religious group at Brukna Manor in Bauska Region, the State Children Rights Protection Inspectorate, together with a representative from the Ombudsman's Office, found that children were doing farm work for over twelve hours a day, they were denied medical assistance and meals if they were disobeying, the inspectorate's representative Taivo Traums told LETA.

The initial inspection was carried out after the Children Rights Protection Inspectorate received information about possible violations of children's rights, including physical and emotional violence. The follow-up inspection was carried out on August 20.

The inspection established that minors at Brukna Manor had to work for very long hours and, if they failed to do their daily assignments, they also had to work at night. Those disobeying the rules were only fed bread and water.

Some children were experiencing physical problems and had fainted while working in the heat all day, the Children Rights Protection Inspectorate concluded.

The inspectorate was also reported instances of physical and emotional violence in the community. The children had to work alongside adults who had previously been convicted of different crimes, as well as people with various dependencies.

The Children Rights Protection Inspectorate's findings have been forwarded to the State Police, Food and Veterinary Service, and the State Labor Inspectorate.

Brukna Manor administration told LETA that the complaint about the alleged violations of children's rights could have been written by a minor with addiction problems who did not like what was happening in the community.

All the work by the community members is done on a voluntary basis. People come to Brukna Manor of their own free will and they work in the manor and the adjacent garden, including with their children. There are no summer camps organized at the manor this year, said the administration.