Muslim immigration detainees in Brisbane have lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission saying that for more than 12 months they have not been given verified halal food.
They are among more than 100 men detained in a hotel in Kangaroo Point after they were evacuated for medical reasons from Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
Many of the refugees and asylum seekers on the Kangaroo Point are Muslims who eat halal food.
“After research and investigation we find out the food has been provided by Serco is not halal food and this is from the beginning when we arrive in Brisbane,” said Iranian detainee Amin Afravi.
Detainees challenged the guards to show them halal certification and approached Serco, the company responsible for the management of the prison, with caterers who are supplying the food.
The caterers responded they weren’t certified halal.
Serco subsequently reported to the detainees that the new and previous caterers had been “not halal certified” but “purchase meat from halal-certified suppliers”.
Serco’s contract with Home Affairs – obtained under Freedom of Information laws – said it “must prepare food for detainees of Islamic faith which meets the requirements of halal meals by sourcing produce certified as halal by a recognised halal food certification organisation”.
“My understanding is that they are not following that particular clause of the contract because these two source companies are not halal-certified,” said Ali Kadri, spokesman for the state’s peak Muslim body and main halal certifier, the Islamic Council of Queensland.
“So it’s irrelevant where these companies are sourcing their food from, because their processes, their procedures, the other ingredients they use do not have assurances.
“We are doing enough injustice to them by locking them up without a crime for such a long period of time and if we can’t even provide them, meet their dietary requirements, it’s a really horrible form of mental torture.”