Our world is not all perfect, some places enjoy peaceful life and other suffer from on going conflicts, minority discrimination, or high rates of violence and crime. If you currently live in an area where conflicts or turmoil reflects on people’s lives and the index of nations happiness, you’ll probably understand what it means to live somewhere far away from any current or potential instabilities.
Perhaps it’s too much to imagine and not the best subject to wish for, but safety and distance from world conflict can be a motivating factor in your choice to expatriate. At the very least, conflict around the world can weigh heavy on the soul, and it’s nice to know there are some places still left in the world where you might be left in peace. According to the Global Peace Index, an index comprising 23 indicators measuring the absence of violence or fear of violence, these are the top 10 countries to live if you want to escape world conflict. Here’s the countdown:
Switzerland’s long history of neutrality and its tucked away location among the valleys of the Alps still make it a safe bet, even despite having a high number of bordering nations. It helps that neighboring Austria is also considered a neutral nation.
Finland has a long history of desiring to stay out of international conflicts, is recognized as neutral and always ranks in the top 10 of the Global Peace Index. It’s northerly location also typically means the remote areas of this country are a perfect place to disappear.
Slovenia is one of the youngest European countries, becoming an independent state in 1991, after the collapse of the Yugoslav federation. The country has took upon itself the aim to stay away from any future world conflict and concentrate on the development of its standard of living. Over the past 3 years it has jumped up from the 11th spot to the 8th spot on the Global Peace Index, achieving steadily towards more stability and development.Several measures of safety and security in Slovenian society receive the lowest possible scores, including the level of violent crime, the proportion of the population in jail and the rate of homicides, although violent demonstrations are considered to be more likely than in neighboring Austria.
6. Ireland (tie)
Ireland is relatively isolated from mainland Europe and expansively well developed. It shares borders with only Northern Ireland, sits relatively distant from any other nation, has no real national enemies. Ireland’s score improved considerably and it re-entered the top ten in the 2012 GPI, after two successive deterioration linked to the economic and political crises. The political scene stabilized after a new coalition government.
6. Austria (tie)
Sharing the 6th spot with Ireland, Austria has been keeping itself away from any conflicts. Since the conclusion of the Austrian State Treaty in 1955, neutrality remains a guiding principle of Austrian foreign policy in that Austria does not belong to any military alliance, does not host foreign troops on its territory and that does not participate in armed conflicts. Tucked in the mountainous region of central Europe, it shares a border with #10 on the list, Switzerland.
Japan retained its position as the fifth-most peaceful nation for a second year. Boasting high levels of internal peace and lack of civil unrest, despite its “tense relations” with China and North Korea. Measures of societal safety and security, such as the level of violent crime, the likelihood of violent demonstrations and the number of homicides in Japan are among the lowest in the world.
Canada is the second largest nation in the world, yet it only shares a land border with one other country– the U.S.A.– and it is a peaceful border. That means there is a great expanse to escape to, if need be. Furthermore, Canada has few world enemies, ranks consistently high on the Global Peace Index, and is relatively homogeneous.
2. Denmark (tie)
Denmark’s GPI score improved for the second successive year, contributing to a rise to joint second place, alongside New Zealand. This partly reflects a fall in military spending (to a relatively modest 1.3%). Denmark is free from internal conflict and it enjoys good relations with neighboring countries. Rates of violent crime and homicide are very low, violent demonstrations are highly unlikely and just 74 people per 100,000 are in jail, one of the lowest proportions in Europe.
2. New Zealand (tie)
New Zealand might be the most isolated and expansive fully developed nation in the world. It shares no borders, sits relatively distant from any other nation, has no real national enemies, has a safe democracy and a diverse landscape with many remote places to hide away within. Furthermore, it ranked #1 on the Global Peace Index in 2009, and has slipped by a slight margin to the #2 spot, tailing Iceland.
The first for the second successive year, Iceland, of course, has no borders, has remote locations, is stable as a country and has virtually no world enemies. Its people are happy and the nation has always ranked highly on the Global Peace Index. If world conflict erupts, Iceland is one of the few stable nations in the world unlikely to get caught up in the middle.
Here are some of the key findings for last year’s Global Peace Index:
For the sixth consecutive year, Western Europe remains markedly the most peaceful region with the majority of its countries ranking in the top 20. The Asia Pacific region’s overall score improved by the largest margin over the 2011-2012 period.
- The world became slightly more peaceful in the last year – bucking a two-year trend.
- All regions excluding the Middle East and North Africa saw an improvement.
- Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time is not the least peaceful region.
- Iceland is the country most at peace for the second successive year.
- Syria tumbles by largest margin dropping over 30 places to 147th position.
- Somalia remains world’s least peaceful nation for second year running.
- End of civil war sees Sri Lanka as biggest riser, leaping nearly 30 places.
- Sub-Saharan Africa’s levels of peacefulness have increased steadily since 2007 with improvements in ‘Relationships with neighboring nations’, ‘Availability of small arms and light weapons’, and ‘Number of deaths from internal conflict’.
- North America experienced a slight improvement, continuing a trend since 2007.
- Latin America also experienced an overall gain in peacefulness, with 16 of the 23 nations seeing improvements to their GPI scores since 2011.
For further details, make sure to check out the full GPI report.
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