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Iraq, Syria Play Small Parts In Human Rights Abuses Report

Human Rights Watch released its 656-page world report documenting abuses around the globe. Syria and Iraq played only small parts in 2014's abuses.

By Cliff Judy | January 29, 2015

"[The fighters] started shooting at them to execute them," survivor of a Mosul prison massacre M.A. told Human Rights Watch. "After this, they burned the entire place." (Video via Human Rights WatchYouTube / ولاية الرقة)

Human Rights Watch issued its annual report Thursday detailing atrocities and abuses worldwide in 2014. Militants fighting for ISIS in Iraq and Syria were only a small part of the 656-page report.

"Human rights violations played a major role in spawning or aggravating most of today's crises," HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth wrote.

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The report begins with four major sections, followed by a country-by-country analysis. The first section is "Tyranny's False Comfort." 

"Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!" an anti-regime Syrian shouts after firing a rocket at Bashar al-Assad's soldiers. (Video via Vice News, RT)

The section confronts the civil war in Syria, ISIS and other conflicts in Egypt, Gaza, Ukraine and terrorist organizations in Africa. (Video via Euronews)

HRW's second section is "Internet at a Crossroads."

"Senior officials are investing themselves with powers that they're not entitled to, and they're doing it without any kind of public consent," Edward Snowden told NBC in an interview aired in June 2014.

HRW says the U.S. and United Kingdom have defaulted into "collect it all" tactics for citizens' data, vilified encryption to protect data and failed to lead the world in online freedom. (Video via Discovery)

"Mass surveillance is by nature indiscriminate and it is presumptively illegal," writes HRW's Cynthia Wong.

HRW's third section is "Deadly Cargo," documenting explosives used in populated areas. (Video via RT)

Use of explosives in populated areas (a violation of international humanitarian law) occurred in: Syria, Iraq, Israel/Gaza, Ukraine, Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Thailand and Colombia. (Video via ODN)

In Syria, explosives have killed at least 40,000 civilians since 2011.

HRW's fourth section is "Raising the Bar," a look at abuses surrounding mega-sporting events. (Video via Sky News)

HRW says human rights were "broadly trampled on" during the Sochi Olympics as Russia tried to show itself off to the world. (Video via Human Rights Watch)

Mega-sporting events can lead to forced evictions, exploited migrant workers, silenced civil rights activists, threats to journalists and discrimination.

"How many people are going to die so that this World Cup can take place?" ESPN's Jeremy Schaap asked as part of an investigation into the Qatar World Cup construction.

Future mega-sporting events HRW says should be closely monitored include the 2018 World Cup in Sochi, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2022 Winter Olympics in either China or Kazakhstan. (Video via ESPN)

To read the full Human Rights Watch 2015 World Report, click the link in the text of this story.

This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Chris Zabriskie / CC BY 4.0

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