South Africa is one of the least peaceful countries across the globe, according to the 8th annual 2014 Global Peace Index report.

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which measures peace in 162 countries according to 22 indicators that gauge the absence of violence or the fear of violence.

South Africa ranked 122nd out of 162 countries, maintaining the same ranking as revealed in last year’s GPI Report.

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Iceland maintained its spot as the most peaceful place to live, while Syria overtook Afghanistan to become the least peaceful country in the world. The most peaceful region of the world continues to be Europe, with 14 European countries featuring in the top 20.

South Asia is the least peaceful region.

The GPI also reveals a global downward slide in peacefulness over the last seven years, overturning the 60-year trend of increasing global peacefulness since the end of the Second World War. Over the last year, “global peacefulness” has dropped largely due to the rise in terrorist activity, the number of conflicts fought and the number of refugees and displaced people.

“Many macro factors have driven the deterioration in peace over the last seven years including the continued economic repercussions of the Global Financial Crisis, the reverberations of the Arab Spring, and the continued spread of terrorism. As these effects are likely to continue into the near future, a strong rebound in peace is unlikely,” said Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the IEP.

Zambia, Haiti, Argentina, Chad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Burundi, Georgia, Liberia and Qatar are the top ten countries most likely to deteriorate in peace in the next two years.

“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. 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,” added Killelea.

You can see the full GPI on the Visions of Humanity website.

[Source – Visions of Humanity. Main image – Shutterstock]