The extremist armed group Islamic State (ISIS) has committed widespread and systematic abuses in in areas under its control in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. ISIS has also claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in nearly 20 other countries, including Afghanistan, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Tajikistan, and the United Kingdom. Human Rights Watch documents these abuses and their impact on the general population.

Governments have a responsibility to take all reasonable and lawful measures to protect people’s right to life and to bring perpetrators of unlawful attacks to account. Human Rights Watch monitors actions by state security forces and international forces to ensure that their measures to counter ISIS (and other armed groups) do not violate the rights of the affected populations, including by failing to protect civilians caught in fighting, or by curtailing basic freedoms of members of civil society or ethnic, racial, or religious communities. We promote fair trials that respect due process for suspects, grant victims their day in court, and lay the groundwork for accountability. We also seek rights-respecting approaches toward the spouses and children of ISIS members, so they do not face collective punishment or other forms of discrimination.