In a video posted by UN-monitoring non-government organisation UN Watch, North Korea ambassador Han Tae-Song told the UN Human Rights Council the isolated dictatorship held deep concerns about Australia’s conduct.
The comments came during a review into Australia’s human rights record.
Mr Han outlined the actions he said Australia should take.
“First, to end deep-rooted racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia on the basis of ethnic, racial, cultural or religious background in the public sphere,” he said.
“Second, to cease cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment in public places of detention.
“Three, to ensure the right 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, which has been controlled by the Kim dynasty since 1948, is widely regarded as one of the world’s most repressive countries.
“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,” the organisation said.
“North Korea operates secretive prison camps where perceived opponents of the government are sent to face torture, starvation rations, and forced labor. Fear of collective punishment is used to silence dissent.”
However, as outraged as some reactions were to Mr Han’s statement – including Liberal MP Dave Sharma joking that it must be “an attempt at irony” – in this case, the hermit nation was not alone.
Canada, China, Germany, Italy, France and Belarus were among dozens of UN countries that also condemned aspects of Australia’s human rights record, with many calling for the national age of criminal responsibility to be lifted from 10 to 14.
Australia has also faced UN criticism over the treatment of Indigenous Australians, and of refugees.