Sadly, recent years have seen the world become a more dangerous place. In the last seven years, there have been dramatic declines in safety and security in Africa, the Middle East, and all other regions globally except for Europe, which has actually witnessed some decline. The data presented in this article is based on The Legatum Prosperity Index. The main focus is put on its ‘Safety & Security’ sub-index, which takes several variables into consideration to rank countries based on relative danger and safety. The classification criteria include state-sponsored political violence, property theft, assault, safety walking alone at night, and many more. For our purposes, each of the top 10 most dangerous (least safe) countries will be investigated separately to provide an in-depth view into their respective security situations.
The Philippines ranks low on safety and security due to its current political situation. Although the Philippines was ranked moderately on all other sections of the Legatum Prosperity Index, they are found near the bottom of the list in terms of safety and security. The risk of terrorist attacks in the Philippines are a combining factor to their low position. Sporadic violent attacks are not unheard of in the Philippines.
The North Africa nation of Libya has its share of problems which creates a dangerous environment for both locals and visitors alike. The armed militia essentially runs to country of 6.7 million, and the country has been dealing with violence ever since the Arab Spring of 2011. The country has been in civil war since 2014. In the country, there is the risk of kidnapping, murder, and armed violence.
Venezuela, a country that is complete economic crisis, is also one of the world's most dangerous places. The country has one of the world's highest murder rates, and both violent and petty crime are relatively common. In a country where a large percentage of its residents are starving, class conflict is common. What makes problems worse is that there is very little law enforcement to be found, which leaves crimes unpunished.
In Sudan, there is almost no likelihood of being mugged on the streets, and even traveling alone for women is relatively safe if they are dressed according to custom. Indeed, opposed to the other countries on the list, over a half of the territory of Sudan does not have travel advisories against it. This means that, after seeking some basic advice to familiarize yourself with regional activities and atmospheres, you can travel pretty safely. However, there are two regions of Sudan - South Kordofan and Darfur - which are extremely dangerous. South Kordofan’s governor, for example, has previously been charged with war crimes against civilians and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. On the other hand, there has been a regular war going on in Darfur since 2003, where Sudan’s Revolutionary Front fights the Government of Sudan. Due to this, 2.3 million people have been displaced and it was estimated that in 2014 around 3.5 million people in Darfur-which is about half of its population-needed some kind of aid. This is in addition to the over 300,000 people killed overall (as estimated by the UN).
Yemen is a country found on the Arabian Peninsula, near Saudi Arabia and Oman. Since February of 2015, Sana'a, the historic capital city of Yemen, has been under rebel control as part of the Yemeni Civil War, which is still ongoing today. The government and security forces of Yemen have both been accused of corruption. Yemen also ranks last on the Global Gender Gap Report. The U.S. Department of State currently warns against all travel to Yemen, citing the heightened risk of conflict and terrorist activities. It has been reported that as many as 10,000 people have died in the Yemeni Civil War.
One of the most recent major violent events in Nigeria took place on December 12, 2015. That day a clash in Zaria, a city in Kaduna State, between the Nigerian Security Forces and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria broke out, and ultimately resulted in a number of deaths. The main focus of the Islamic Movement organization is to establish Islamic law in Nigeria, and remove western influence from the country. Due to their hatred towards westerners, kidnappings and terrorist attacks on places frequented by foreigners are a real threat in Nigeria. Moreover, can a country be safe if one cannot even assume every uniformed officer intends to protect and serve? This has become an issue as loyalties, police and military included, have become increasingly blurred. Lastly, there is a serious threat of maritime attacks, as rogue pirates patrol the Nigerian coastline in search of oil freights.
4. Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the largest countries in Africa, by both land area and population. Nearly 80 million people live in Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is extremely rich in natural resources. Unfortunately, years of government instability has prevented these natural riches from translating into riches for the local population. Infrastructure in the country is extremely underdeveloped, and security conditions across the country are unstable. Violent clashes are not unheard of, and often affect ordinary civilians. Other crimes such as rape, murder, demanding ransom, and robbery are also common.
3. Central African Republic
According to The Legatum Prosperity Index, the Central African Republic is one of the world's least prosperous countries. Alongside this fact, the Central African Republic deals with a multitude of administrative, infrastructural, and economic problems which influence the country’s placement among this infamous top five list. Following a military coup in 2003, the situation across the country remains very dangerous to this day. Threats to civilian safety, including armed rebel groups, very high rates of violent crime, and general lawlessness, are the main reasons for everyone from international bodies to commercial travel websites trying to dissuade prospective visitors from travelling there. Reports of violence, reprisal killings, looting, and human rights abuses continue to occur across the country, and the capital and largest city of Bangui is not an exception.
Afghanistan also makes an appearance in the least safe countries worldwide. Terrorism is the biggest security problem for Afghani citizens. Serious large-scale terrorist incidents, including suicide bombings and attacks using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs), occur regularly throughout Afghanistan. Even in the modern city of Kabul, the threat of attack is strong.
Subsequent to the Iraqi Civil War that has been taking place since June of 2014, the country is divided into 3 factions. These include those under the control of the officially recognized Iraqi central government and Shi'ite militias fighting with them, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) working with Sunni insurgents, and, finally, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the sympathizers aiding the Kurdish forces. To make a long story short, after the withdrawal of US troops from the area in masse in 2011, Sunni militant groups stepped up attacks targeting the country's majority Shi’a population to undermine confidence in the government, also led by Shi’as. In 2014, the insurgency escalated their efforts dramatically, contributing to the current Syrian Civil War. From June of 2014 through early December of 2015, 28,885 civilians had died from the violence and, all together from the time of the U.S.-led deployments in early 2003, almost 170,000 civilians have died from related violence. As if these wars were not enough, there is also a very high risk of terrorism in the country, with even greater threats of attacks taking place in the capital city of Baghdad. All of these factors contribute to the Legatum Prosperity Index ranking Iraq as the most dangerous country in the world, when it comes to safety and security.