The Global Peace Index has found Syria to be the least peaceful country for the second year running as it continues to be ravaged by a civil war considered to be the deadliest in the 21st century.
Yemen, Ukraine and Libya entered the top 10 most dangerous countries, as conflict’s in the three countries show little sign of abating.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and North Korea maintained ‘very low’ peace ratings, but the still managed to climb out of the bottom 10 after experiencing a less troubled year.
Little changed at the top of the index – which is produced annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace - as Iceland was crowned the world’s most peaceful country for the sixth time in a row.
Finland dropped out of the top 10 to number 11, although it maintained its ‘very high’ peace status, Australia, however, slipped into 15th place and is now only considered to have a ‘high’ state of peace.
Overall, 81 countries are considered more peaceful than in 2015, however, the state of peace in 79 was found to have deteriorated.
According to the report: “The single greatest indicator change occurred on terrorism impact, which deteriorated by more than 20 per cent on average, followed by refugees and IDPs and internal conflict deaths.”
It said terrorism is “at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict are at a 25 year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people are at a level not seen in sixty years.”
Although many countries were found to have “record high levels of peacefulness”, those in the bottom 20 were found to have “progressively become much less peaceful, creating increased levels of inequality in global peace.”
Over the past decade the number of refugees and displaced persons increased dramatically, according to the report, with almost twice as many – 60 million – recorded in 2015 compared to 2007.
The report observed: “There are nine countries with more than 10 per cent of their population classified as refugees or displaced persons with Somalia and South Sudan having more than 20 per cent of their population displaced and Syria with over 60 per cent displaced.”
Political instability was also found to have declined, with 39 countries recording worse results than in 2015.
The report also noted how violence is responsible for 13.3 per cent of global economic activity – the equivalent of $1,876 (£1322) for every person in the world.
In fact, military expenditure grew in more than 70 countries last year, according to the report, as did the amount of imported weapons.
However, funding for UN peacekeeping reached record highs with a 12 per cent increase, which the reports authors described as “the stand-out improvement over the period”.
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