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Watch Australia Get Embarrassingly Slammed By North Korea Over Human Rights

One hundred and seven countries condemned Australia for its treatment of Indigenous people and asylum-seekers.

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More than 100 countries have lined up to express their concerns about Australia's human rights record at the United Nations, putting forward a total of 300 recommendations for it to improve.

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They voiced their recommendations at a four-yearly human rights review known as the "Universal Periodic Review".

At least 60 of the recommendations criticised Australia's asylum-seeker policy. There was also criticism of Australia's protection of women, Indigenous people, the LGBT community, and people with disabilities.

Here's what some of the member countries, some of them with their own questionable human rights records, had to say about Australia:

1. North Korea

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The delegation from the DPRK called on Australia to do more to "cease the maltreatment of and violence against the refugees, including sexual violence by the officials in detention centres".

North Korea also recommended that Australia end racism and racial discrimination, particularly against Indigenous people.

North Korea itself has been condemned by human rights groups for crimes against humanity, including abducting and forcibly repatriating people from South Korea and China.

2. South Korea

"In spite of efforts made by the government of Australia, we believe there is still room for improvement in the area of human rights of Indigenous peoples and asylum-seekers," the spokesperson from South Korea said.

South Korea recommended Australia cooperate with the UNHCR "to provide more adequate protection and proper treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees".

3. India

India wants Australia to consult more with Indigenous people about policies that effect them.

It also thinks Australia should be better at protecting the rights of asylum-seekers, migrants, and refugees and should make sure it stops sending asylum-seekers back to their home countries if it puts them at risk of prosecution.


4. Turkey

Turkey expressed concern about Australia holding women and children asylum-seekers in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

It recommended Australia adopt a Human Rights Act at a federal level and stop transferring asylum-seekers to third countries.

The UNHCR estimates Turkey will have taken in 1.9 million refugees from Syria in 2015.

5. Indonesia

Indonesia and Australia have had a tense diplomatic relationship over boat turnbacks in recent times and Indonesia did not hold back.

It recommended Australia address asylum-seeker and refugee issues in accordance with the Bali Process and its human rights and humanitarian obligations.

6. Portugal

Portugal recommended Australia ensure "that all migrant children, irrespective of their migration status, have access to education and healthcare services in the exact same terms as Australian children do", and do more to address domestic violence.

7. Russia

The Russian Federation slammed Australia for its failure to implement the UN's recommendations since its last periodic review. Russia is often criticised for its own human rights abuses, including laws restricting LGBT rights and freedom of expression.


8. Iran

As well as its concerns about mandatory detention, the Iranian delegation wants Australia to get better at protecting the rights of minorities, including Indigenous people.

Iran was under fire from the UN earlier this year for its own human rights abuses, including executing more prisoners per capita than any other country and detaining journalists.

9. Rwanda

Rwanda's delegation was concerned about the continued disparity in access to services for Aboriginal and Indigenous people, and discrimination and racism.

It called on Australia to live up to its international obligations regarding asylum-seekers and refugees.

Australia will make a bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in 2017, but experts say the criticism from the international community will be a setback.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

"Australia's potential to be a human rights leader is being completely undercut by its tremendously harsh treatment of people seeking asylum," said Anna Brown from the Human Rights Law Centre.

"Last night at the UN, there were calls from nations in every region and political grouping in the world, for Australia to change its policies. At a time when there is an unprecedented number of people around the world in need of safety, a wealthy democratic nation like Australia should be part of the solution, but instead we are rightfully being condemned on the world stage for being part of the problem."

Professor Sarah Joseph from Monash University's Castan Centre for Human Rights observed the hearing in Geneva, and said the international community did not buy Australia's excuses for rights violations.

"Australia's treatment of asylum-seekers has drawn the attention of nations from every region of the world," she said.

"Today, it was manifestly clear that we are not role models on issues of asylum. We are pariahs."

Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

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