The ten safest and ten most dangerous countries in the world
UK's 'repeated military engagements' see it fall to 47th place, while Iceland celebrates another year at the top
or the second year in a row, Iceland is the safest country in the world and Syria the most dangerous, according to the latest report from the Institute for Economics and Peace.
The rankings were based on 24 different metrics, taking into account statistical factors such as murder rates and military expenditure, as well as perceptions of criminality and terrorism levels.
The factors are combined into a single number, called the Global Peace Index (GPI). The lower this is, the safer a country is regarded.
Syria was once ranked the 88th most peaceful country out of 162 nations. But since 2008, the outbreak of civil war and the rise of Islamic State have caused its ranking to drop through the floor, according to The Independent. The country earned a GPI of 3.806.
The ten least peaceful countries in the world
Central African Republic
It was better news for Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and North Korea, who managed to make it out of the top ten. Taking their place are Ukraine, Yemen and Libya, all of whom have struggled to suppress rebel insurgencies.
Iceland, by contrast, earned its rank from a low level of militarisation and conflict both at home and abroad. The country is one of the few in the world – and the only Nato member – without a standing army. Factors such as these earned Iceland a GPI of 1.192.
While the top four nations remain unchanged from last year, there are two new entrants on the top ten: Portugal and Slovenia replace Finland and Australia
The ten most peaceful countries in the world
The UK came in 47th place overall, a fall of eight places from 2015 and putting it 27th out of the 36 European countries measured. The underwhelming ranking is primarily due to "external peace indicators, in line with their repeated military engagements in recent years", says the report.
The ten least safe countries in the world are comprised primarily of states in the Middle East and north and central Africa, which suffer from frequent bouts of civil war and the effects of the "war on terror".
Overall, the GPI compilers paint a dispiriting picture, saying their findings suggest world peace is slipping further out of reach.
"Terrorism is also at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict are at a 25-year high and the number of refugees and displaced people are at a level not seen in 60 years," the report says.
Over the 163 countries assessed, 81 improved on their 2015 index number, with Panama, Thailand and Sri Lanka making the biggest strides. However, 79 countries saw their score worsen – Yemen leading the way with a gain of 0.446, almost double that of second-place Ukraine.
"The tenth edition of the GPI report finds that overall global levels of peace continue to deteriorate while the gap between the most and least peaceful countries in the world continues to widen," the researchers conclude.