North Korea calls Australia out for its 'deep-rooted racism' and discrimination

North Korea has been described as among the world's most "repressive countries".
North Korea has been described as among the world's most "repressive countries". Photo credit: Getty

North Korea, one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world, has lashed out at Australia for what it says are breaches of the international human rights law. 

It's one of more than 40 countries which called on Australia to improve its human rights record during the United Nations human rights five yearly review on Wednesday.

North Korea's representative, Kim Song, said Australia has three main issues - the first being its "deep rooted racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia".

He said this must end, as must "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in public places of detention".

"Three: To ensure the rights of persons with disabilities, including participation in elections on an equal basis with others and revoking of policies and practices that result in the arbitrary and indefinite detention of persons with disabilities."

North Korea, a country under the rule of Kim Jong-Un, has been described by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) as among the world's most "repressive countries".

"The government sharply curtails all basic liberties, including freedom of expression, religion and conscience, assembly, and association," the HRW website states.

"A 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry found that the government committed gross, systematic and widespread rights abuses, including extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence."

But North Korea isn't the only country that criticises Australia's human rights record. 

The Chinese government also called Australia out in the same review. 

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Australia should take actions "to combat racial discrimination, hate speech and violence and protect the rights of ethnic minorities".

It further called for Australia to "thoroughly investigate the war crimes committed by the Australian military overseas".

A report released in November 2020 confirmed that 25 Australian soldiers were involved in the killing of Afghan prisoners and civilians.

After the report was released, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian tweeted a cartoon illustrating an Australian soldier murdering a child.

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded an apology from the Chinese government claiming the tweet "cannot be justified".

Since the tweet, the relationship between China and Australia has been tense.

Social media users were fired up in response to the statement.

"The UN is a hypocritical joke," one person tweeted. "For f**ks sake, they have North Korea and China lecturing Australia about human rights and combating racism."

"The UN is a broken organisation. The most despotic countries on Earth are never held to account," another Tweeted.

Paul Power, the chief executive council of the Refugee Council of Australia acknowledged these concerns.

"We noted 47 nations (incl many allies) raising concerns about refugee, asylum and detention policies. Australians must realise the world is watching, and many are unimpressed," he tweeted.