Global Peace Index: New Zealand ranked world’s second most peaceful country despite Christchurch attacks

New Zealand ranked world's second most peaceful country

Samikhsya Bureau

Ireland, often portrayed as an idyllic Nordic paradise, has been ranked the most peaceful country in the world, while Afghanistan is the least peaceful (or most dangerous to live in), according to the Global Peace Index 2019 report on Thursday.

Interestingly, New Zealand, where terrorists killed 51 people by attacking two mosques in March, has been ranked the world’s second most peaceful country.

Global Peace Index (GPI), measuring relative position of the nations and regions relating to ‘peacefulness’, ranks 163 independent countries and territories that comprise 99.7 per cent of the population of the world. The GPI report measures peacefulness taking into account military spending and deaths from conflict and terrorism, as well as an estimated economic cost of violence.

The Institute for Economics and Peace produces the GPI report. The IEP has its headquarters in Sydney in Australia with branches in New York City, Mexico City and The Hague. GPI was first launched in 2007 and since then the reports are released annually. From 2017, the report started measuring 163 countries, instead of 121 earlier.

The GPI ranking does not bring good news for India, which has been placed at 141st, down by four ranks from last year. On the other hand, India’s neighbour Bhutan finds itself at rank 15, jumping 43 places and showing the most relative improvement over 12 years among all nations.

Iceland came first in the rankings for the 12th year in a row, reported The New Zealand Herald. Researchers praised Iceland’s falling murder rate and an increase in funding to United Nations peacekeeping. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark, with European nations dominating the top of the list.

The report ranked New Zealand the second place although researchers noted the impact of the March 15 Christchurch mosque attacks. It said New Zealand has improved in other aspects and gained “resilience” in dealing with disasters. “New Zealand maintained or improved its scores in 22 out of 23 indicators but deteriorated in the impact of terrorism,” the report said, referring to the terror attacks.

Portugal was ranked third, and Austria fourth despite the likelihood of violent demonstrations after a far-right party joined the government, the Global Peace Index report said.

Afghanistan replaced Syria, which is now the second least peaceful one, according to the report. They are joined by South Sudan, Yemen, Iraq and Central African Republic at the bottom of the list. According to the report, it is for the first time that Yemen finds itself in the list of least peaceful countries.