World

Rights group says sectarian and abusive policies of Iraqi, Syrian governments fuel extremism

  • Former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, center, is greeted by lawmakers after casting ballot during the voting session electing the new Italian President in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's ability to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Polling was expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, center, is greeted by lawmakers after casting ballot during the voting session electing the new Italian President in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's ability to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Polling was expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth, speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Human Rights Watch on Thursday blasted Islamic State militants over their atrocities, but also criticized the Syrian and Iraqi governments over what the New York-based group described as "sectarian and abusive" policies that fuel extremism. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth, speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Human Rights Watch on Thursday blasted Islamic State militants over their atrocities, but also criticized the Syrian and Iraqi governments over what the New York-based group described as "sectarian and abusive" policies that fuel extremism. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

  • Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Roth said, as long as the Iraq continues to rely on Shiite militia in battles against jihadis and the Syrian government’s military bombard rebel-held areas with barrels bombs, some Sunnis will still prefer to live under IS and see them as protectors of the sect. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Roth said, as long as the Iraq continues to rely on Shiite militia in battles against jihadis and the Syrian government’s military bombard rebel-held areas with barrels bombs, some Sunnis will still prefer to live under IS and see them as protectors of the sect. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

Human Rights Watch says the rise of the Islamic State group is among the world's top challenges and blames "sectarian and abusive" policies of the Iraqi and Syrian governments for fueling extremism.

In its annual report, the New York-based group accuses the U.S. and its allies of allowing military action against the IS to overshadow efforts to push Syrian President Bashar Assad's government to end its own abuses.

It also accuses the Iraqi government of relying in the battle against IS primarily on Shiite militias who are killing and cleansing Iraqi areas of Sunni civilians with impunity.

HRW also accuses the international community of indifference to the violations by both governments.

The 656-page World Report 2015 was released in Beirut Thursday, reviewing human rights practices in more than 90 countries.