RANKED: The least peaceful countries in the world

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts during the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) test launch.
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Thomson Reuters

North Korea – the country that recently said it’s considering a plan to fire nuclear-capable missiles at Guam – is one of the least peaceful countries in the world.

That’s according to the 2017 Global Peace Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which analyzes 162 nations and ranks them on their levels of peacefulness every year.

To compile the ranking, the IEP looked at 23 indicators, like violent demonstrations and weapons imports, across three categories: the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarization. Collectively, the countries included make up 99.7% of the world’s population.

Overall, the world became more peaceful in 2017 compared to 2016. In the past year, 93 countries became more peaceful, while 68 countries became less peaceful, according to the index.

The ones that ranked lowest, with the least peaceful country at #1, are below.


14. North Korea

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Damir Sagolj/Reuters

13. Russia

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Putin walks to watch military exercises upon his arrival at the Kirillovsky firing ground.
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RIA Novosti/Reuters

12. Pakistan

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A soldier stands guard near the site where two Chinese language teachers were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen, in Quetta
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Thomson Reuters

11. Democratic Republic of Congo

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Sahrawis shout slogans for the freedom of Western Sahara before a demonstration organized by officials from the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.
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Juan Medina/REUTERS

10. Ukraine

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Vice Admiral Sergei Yeliseyev, First Deputy Commander of the Ukrainian fleet, attends joint maritime exercises with Russian Navy forces in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, Ukraine on June 22, 2013.
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Stringer/Reuters

9. Central African Republic

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An African Union (AU) soldier stands guard outside a home at the end of a funeral of two men killed by sectarian violence in the Muslim neighbourhood of Kilometre 5 (PK5) in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, on March 23, 2014.
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Siegfried Modola/REUTERS

8. Sudan

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Sudan’s President Omar Ahmed al-Bashir looks on during Sudan’s Saudi Air Force show during the final training exercise between the Saudi Air Force and Sudanese Air Forces at Merowe Airport in Merowe.
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Thomson Reuters

7. Libya

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Migrants walk after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard at the coast of Gharaboli, east of Tripoli.
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Thomson Reuters

6. Somalia

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Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala arrives to celebrate her 19th birthday at the Dadaab refugee camp near the Kenya-Somalia border.
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Thomson Reuters

5. Yemen

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Members of a special security force loyal to the Houthi rebels perform an oath as they take part in a military parade at the Tahrir Square in downtown Sanaa
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Thomson Reuters

4. South Sudan

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A rebel in South Sudan with a rocket propelled grenade.
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Goran Tomasevic/REUTERS

3. Iraq

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A displaced woman sits near the ruined Grand al-Nuri Mosque in the Old City of Mosul
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Thomson Reuters

2. Afghanistan

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Parwiz Parwiz/Reuters

1. Syria

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Syrian refugee children hold banners and shout during a demonstration against delays in reunifications of refugees families from Greece to Germany, in Athens.
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Thomson Reuters

Syria, which ranked as the least peaceful country in 2016 and 2016, is in the middle of a refugee crisis. An estimated 13.5 million Syrian civilians have fled war (and more than 6 million have been internally displaced) since the start of the country’s civil war in 2011. It has been ranked amongst the world’s five least peaceful countries since the 2013 Global Peace Index.

Regionally, the Middle East and North Africa remained the least peaceful region in the world in the 2017 index. Over the past year, Syria incurred the largest cost of violence as a percentage of its GDP at 67%. Globally, violence costs 12.6% of the world’s GDP.