The governments of Egypt, Syria and Iraq used real and perceived security threats in 2014 as an excuse to downplay or abandon the rights of their citizens, which ultimately fuelled crises, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday (January 29).
In its annual review of global human rights, the group said security forces across the globe are ignoring rights in dealing with threats, such as China's crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang, Mexico's war on drugs and Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram.
The New York-based group launched its 2015 world report from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Thursday.
"The issue that we have seen over the last year is one in response to a clearly, a more tumultuous world, one presenting very severe security threats. And we found that governments almost instinctively, when confronting security threats of the sort that is say typified by the terrible atrocities of ISIS - the Islamic State - governments tend to fall back almost reflexively on a pure security approach that ignores the role of human rights. Governments tend to see human rights as a luxury for less tumultuous times, something that can be dispensed with when the going gets tough," executive director, Kenneth Roth, told a news conference.
He said the approach only made the security threat worse.
"We see that not only as wrong, as a matter of moral principle, and wrong as a matter of international law, but also shortsighted and counterproductive. And what we found as we surveyed the world over the last year, is that the failure to respect human rights in addressing the serious security threats confronting the world today, fails to get at the root causes that gave rise to many of these threats and also leads governments in a direction that will be unsuccessful in trying to confront those threats," he said.