All it takes is a five minute segment of the evening news to remind us that world is full of violent conflicts. We may not see the massive wars we saw in the past, like the World Wars, but our globe is plagued by violence nonetheless.
With conflicts constantly in the headlines, it’s a fair question to ask: is there anywhere that’s free of fighting?
The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) set out to answer that question in their latest study. They found that yes, there are some conflict-free countries – but very few.
In order to receive the lowest possible score on the IEP’s conflict index, a country must not have been involved in any “contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in a year”.
So, who can meet these criteria? Only 11 countries: Switzerland, Japan, Qatar, Mauritius, Uruguay, Chile, Botswana, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Panama and Brazil.
The IE notes that although conflict-free now, several of these countries have other issues that could one day boil over into violence -- like Brazil and it’s highly corrupt political climate, for example.
Here is the IEP’s Global Peace Index map, courtesy of Independent. The deep green countries are the most peaceful, with the light green countries only slightly less so. Sand colored countries fall in the middle of the pack, and orange countries are closer to the most violence-torn ones, which are colored red.
The IEP ranked 162 countries for the project. On a scale of 1-162, 1 is the the most peaceful country and 162 is the least. The United States ranked 97th.
Continuing civil unrest in the Arab world, Ukraine, Africa and India means the world will likely get more violent in the future before the trend turns around.
Here’s what IEP director Camilla Schippa said to The Independent on the issue.
“In the last year we have seen a large increase in terrorist activity, a resurgence of conflict in Gaza, and no resolution to the crisis in Syria and Iraq,” Schippa told The Independent. “Outside of the Middle East, civil unrest in Ukraine has turned into armed rebellion, and there has been increasing violence in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Continuing global unrest means that there is unlikely to be a reversal of this trend in the short run.”