The Vision of Humanity has revealed the results of its eighth annual study on the state of peace around the globe, called Global Peace Index, which highlights such factors as terrorism, internal crime statistics, political forces, refugee activity, population trends, economic conditions, and other aspects.
The index is released every year by Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank.
According to the recent GPI, the United Stated has fallen out of the world’s 100 most peaceful countries because of a rise in terrorist activity, and the Boston Marathon bombing, in particular.
Other indicators, which contributed to the America’s negative score, include its lack of gun control, possession of nuclear arms, participation in a number of military conflicts, as well as a low percentage of women in political office.
“Almost 25% of all prisoners in the world are in the U.S.; despite the fact the U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population. Harsh drug laws are one of the main reasons why the prison population has more than tripled since 1980,” the new data states.
“In addition, prosecution has become more efficient, meaning that those arrested are more likely to go to jail than in the past, and the authorities have increased the length of prison sentences.”
This year index, which measures peace in 162 countries, revealed that the most peaceful countries are those, which are mainly concentrated in Scandinavian and European region. Among the top ten are: Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Belgium, and Norway.
The most violent countries are Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and North Korea.
Globally, terrorist activity, the number of conflicts fought, and the number of refugees and displaced people were key contributors to the continuing deterioration in worldwide peace.
Ukraine and Egypt, countries still in the midst of their revolutions, were two of the biggest fallers, degrading the most since the 2013 report.
However, there is good news too, especially for Georgia, Cote d’Ivoire and Libya, which all made the biggest improvements in peace since last year. A common characteristic in all these countries is the ongoing improvement in political stability in the wake of conflict.
“Given the deteriorating global situation we cannot be complacent about the institutional bedrocks for peace: our research shows that peace is unlikely to flourish without deep foundations,” said Steve Killelea, the Vision of Humanity founder.
He continued: “This is a wakeup call to governments, development agencies, investors and the wider international community that building peace is the prerequisite for economic and social development.”
In general, it has been found that since 2008 the world has become 4% less peaceful, because of increasing terrorist activity, conflicts and the number of refugees, as well as violence that contributes a significant hit to the overall global economy.
It has also been estimated that economic cost of violence to the global economy is equivalent to around US$1,350 per person, or twice the size of Africa’s economy.