A leading human rights organization says Western governments fearful of terror attacks and the potential threat posed by refugees are curtailing human rights and adopting misguided policies in the name of security.

In its annual report, Human Rights Watch singles out Europe and the United States for "blatant Islamophobia and shameless demonizing of refugees."

Fear-mongering "generates precisely the kind of division and animosity that terrorist recruiters love to exploit," warns HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth.

He argues that providing a "safe and orderly way" for refugees to reach Europe would reduce lives lost in the Mediterranean and facilitate security checks.  

Roth unveiled the report Wednesday in Istanbul. Turkey is home to 2.2 million Syrian refugees and the main departure point for migrants headed to Europe with the help of smugglers.