Amnesty International has urged the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to give up their power of veto in cases where atrocities are being committed, the BBC reports.
In its annual report, the rights group said the global response to an array of catastrophes in 2014 had been shameful.
Richer countries were guilty of taking an “abhorrent” stance by not sheltering more refugees, Amnesty said.
The outlook for 2015 was bleak, the group added.
Saying that 2014 had been a catastrophic year for victims of conflict and violence, Amnesty said world leaders needed to act immediately to confront the changing nature of armed conflict.
Salil Shetty, the organisation’s secretary general, said in a statement that the United Nations Security Council had “miserably failed” to protect civilians.
Instead, the council’s five permanent members – the UK, China, France, Russia and the US – had used their veto to “promote their political self-interest or geopolitical interest above the interest of protecting civilians,” Mr Shetty said.
Part of the solution would be those countries surrendering their Security Council veto on issues related to mass killing and genocide, Amnesty added.