What were the top news articles by Human Rights Watch in 2014? The tyranny of North Korea's prison camp victims, the fighting in Gaza, atrocities committed by ISIS and the crackdown on LGBT rights in Russia were among our best-read stories of the year.

UN Sets Inquiry into North Korea Prison Camps

Shin Dong-hyuk is the only man born in one of North Korea’s camps for political prisoners, called kwan-li-so, who is known to have escaped. In the camp, he was forced to do back-breaking labor and went hungry for days on end. Guards tortured him, hung him from his ankles and burned him with hot coals. At age 14, he watched as his mother was hanged and his brother shot dead.

Gaza: Israeli Soldiers Shoot and Kill Fleeing Civilians

When will there be justice for the civilians in the southern Gaza town of Khuza'a, who suffered shelling for days, then faced deadly attacks by Israeli soldiers after being ordered to leave the town?

Iraq: Islamic State Executions in Tikrit

New evidence about executions carried out by the radical group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Tikrit after it seized the city in June triples the estimated death toll to between 560 and 770 men, all or most of them apparently captured Iraqi army soldiers. Information from a survivor and analysis of videos and satellite imagery has confirmed the existence of more mass execution sites.

Russia: Sochi Games Highlight Homophobic Violence

The Russian authorities need to address the widespread abuse against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and activists. By turning a blind eye to hateful homophobic rhetoric and violence, Russian authorities are sending a dangerous message to the world – about to arrive on its doorstep for the Olympics – that there is nothing wrong with attacks on gay people.

Ukraine: Unguided Rockets Killing Civilians

Unguided Grad rockets launched apparently by Ukrainian government forces and pro-government militias have killed at least 16 civilians and wounded many more in insurgent-controlled areas of Donetsk and its suburbs in at least four attacks between July 12 and 21, 2014.

Saudi Arabia: Surge in Executions

Any execution is appalling, but executions for crimes such as drug smuggling or sorcery that result in no loss of life are particularly egregious. There is simply no excuse for Saudi Arabia’s continued use of the death penalty, especially for these types of crimes.

Iraq: ISIS Abducting, Killing, Expelling Minorities

The extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) is killing, kidnapping, and threatening religious and ethnic minorities in and around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Since capturing Mosul on June 10, 2014, the armed Sunni extremist group has seized Turkmen, Shabaks, and Yazidis, and ordered all Christians to convert to Islam, pay “tribute” money, or leave Mosul.

Indonesia: ‘Virginity Tests’ for Female Police

Indonesia subjects female applicants for Indonesia’s National Police to discriminatory and degrading “virginity tests.” Applicants who “failed” were not necessarily expelled from the force, but all of the women interviewed by Human Rights Watch described the test as painful and traumatic.

Libya: Tribute to Salwa Bughaighis

The Libyan lawyer and human rights activist Salwa Bughaighis always made a head-turning sight on the streets of Benghazi. Unveiled and striding confidently to meeting after meeting, she was one of the few who continued to challenge Islamist militias despite increased violence. On June 25, 2014, following countless threats against her and her family, Salwa was assassinated.

Iran: Death Sentence for Facebook Posts

On November 24, 2014, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to death, after he was convicted of sabb al-nabbi, or “insulting the prophet,” referring to the Prophet Muhammad. It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting.