Many of the people you meet every day on the street would say it appears as if the whole world is in some kind of a conflict all the time. This perspective may be biased by the massive coverage that the electronic media gives to even the smallest of incidents, with vivid visuals to accompany them. In reality, however, there are in fact many countries in the world which remain relatively peaceful. In fact, whole regions or blocks of the world can be identified as relative havens of peace in an all-too-often violent world. Some organizations are actually dedicated to creating indices by which to measure peace among nations, and they release such lists as the Global Peace Index, which we used for the rankings in this article. Global Peace Index scores are shown in the table at the end of this article to indicate the relative peacefulness among the 20 Most Peaceful Countries from around the world. The lower the number scored by a country on the index, the more peaceful a country is said to be.
It would come as no surprise if one were to conclude that the Middle East and certain parts of Asia and Africa have been the least peaceful, most conflict-ridden regions in the world. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are all places where not a single day passes without some story or another of strife, bombings, and sectarian violence. As one report indicates, there were 18,000 violence deaths reported in these countries alone in 2013, an increase of 61 percent over the annual period reported from 2012! In a similar manner, one is not very surprised to hear that Europe in general, and the nations of Austria, Finland, and Denmark in particular, figure prominently among this Top 20.
Apart from war and terrorism, the Peace Index’s perspective goes beyond conventional understandings of how peace within a country can be measured. These include internal conflicts, such as strong arm tactics employed by law enforcement agencies and high rates of violent crimes, especially homicide. Some of the Caribbean countries and Latin American nations are plagued by such internal conflicts. There may be overlap of these conditions across borders, which can likewise affect Global Peace Index scores or rankings for otherwise peaceful countries with violent neighbors.
Other factors that must alsobe taken into consideration while carrying out such studies as those helping to create the Global Peace Index include the way countries have been able to improve their relationships with their neighbors, and drastic increases on defense expenditures by which to acquire arms, ammunition, and nuclear capabilities. These can contribute to more conflicts arising in future, even where none yet exist. This is a sad consideration in a world with countries already on fire, like Ukraine and Syria.
The Global Peace Index may serve as an eye opener for many people around the world, who have genuine desires to see a more peaceful world, wherein countries and communities can co-exist without conflict. Some countries which were in the past very peaceful have sadly become the centers of disputes, while many others have improved their general atmosphere of safety within their borders. Ultimately, for the whole world to live in peace, better conflict resolution mechanisms have to be put in place, and a common yearning for goodwill must be found within the hearts of all.