With our world divided by imaginary borders and nations defiantly protecting the validity of said borders, it comes as no surprise that each group of people contained within these lines evolves and thrives different to other groups. While some countries adopted and promulgated education and free speech, others dissected themselves into social classes and propped up walls with spikes around their houses.
On one hand we have countries where people of any background can stand up and fight for any number of issues. Meanwhile, on the other hand we have countries where you’re never sure if you won’t just be quietly taken away that night never to be seen again. So lets go over just which countries you should avoid while travelling, and which you should definitely visit for a nice ice-cream sundae out in the sun.
The Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries
The Institute for Economics and Peace compiles its Global Peace Index yearly, taking into account 23 of a country’s factors including the murder rate and political terror. According to the index, the top 10 most dangerous countries in ascending order are:
We’ve all heard of the censorship and political corruption that goes on in dear old Mother Russia, but seeing it actually included in the top 10 among entries like Yemen and Afghanistan really puts the situation into context. The Index cites Russia’s militarization and high weapons’ exports, as well as the presence of multiple terrorist groups as reasons for putting Russia so low on the list. Oh and if you live there, do yourself a favor and don’t question the government. Though you probably know that.
9: The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Number 9 on the list doesn’t spell much positivity for the DRC. Already a troubled region, its recent Ebola outbreak has also crippled the running of the nation. The index claims high amounts of armed and violent crimes, as well as the police force’s lack of resources to effectively respond to said crimes, make the DRC a dangerous place to be. The fact that violent protests keep breaking out across the country doesn’t help matters either.
Any country with Islamist militias operating within them should be a no-go for anyone travelling the world, and Libya is no exception. With kidnappings, shootings, generic violent crime and more being as common as they are in Libya, you should only be headed there if you’re planning a very extravagant suicide. ISIS, among other armed militias and terrorist organizations, frequently carries out some sort of terrorist attack that kills both security members as well as civilians.
7: The Central African Republic
The Central African Republic has been experiencing years of kidnappings, violent crimes, robberies, and murders. But the real source of all the unrest is because of an ongoing war between Seleka rebels and the Anti-Balaka militia. The index reports that this civil war alone has created 570,000 refugees and displaced 620,000 people more internally. The refugees have fled to neighboring countries in search of a better and safer life.
A failing country isn’t the only thing Somalia is known for. Somali pirates continue to terrorize the waters around the country; kidnapping crew on ships from other nations and then demanding ransoms. In fact, the Somali pirates are known to have more power than the Somali government itself. But as for the country, it is a hotbed of crime; with an ineffective police force and attacks being common even in high-profile locations. The index states the recent years that brought along food shortages and droughts with them have only served to destabilize the region even more.
It wouldn’t be a top 10 list about dangerous countries without Iraq in it, and so here it comes at number 5. According to the Index, Iraq is a country with some of the highest numbers of terrorist attacks being carried out. Civilians or members of the security forces, it doesn’t matter. Anyone that the terrorist organizations can get their hands on becomes a victim. Other than that, Iraq is also known for its blatant abuse of human rights and no hope in the foreseeable future of that changing anytime soon.
Yemen is, simply put, a mess. According to the United Nations, Yemen has the world’s worst humanitarian crisis going on. The conflict between the Houthi movement and the Abdrabbuuh Mansur Hadi government has put 14 million people at the risk of starvation. Millions have been displaced from their homes and around 80% of the country’s population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
3: South Sudan
Like many other countries on the list, South Sudan is full of armed conflict, violent crimes, murders, kidnappings, robberies, and assaults. Fighting between the government and the opposition groups has placed the whole country into a dire situation. But that’s not all. South Sudan also has the honor of being at risk of climate disasters that can strike at any moment. All in all, not a fun place to live.
Syria and Afghanistan are in a competition for first place as the most dangerous country in the world, and Syria was only recently dethroned by Afghanistan. The majority of Syria’s problems may be blamed on the civil war that has been raging since 2011. Estimates indicate that 470,000 people have been killed in the war to date. 55,000 of those casualties were children. The Syrian civil war takes the conventional strife present in other countries on this list and turns it up to 11; with small arms not being the only factors in the warfare. Chemical weaponry, aircraft, tanks, and artillery have all been used. Over 5.7 million refugees have left Syria to pursue a life elsewhere.
The undisputable (for now) king of dangerous countries, Afghanistan has the highest number of deaths due to war and terrorism compared to any other country in the world. Crime is rampant, lack of basic human rights guaranteed, and terrorist organizations aplenty. Casualties keep mounting higher and higher each month, and there are no signs of it stopping any time soon, or at all. Stay away from Afghanistan.
The Top 10 Safest Countries
With our depressing look at the most dangerous countries now done with, let’s turn our attention to what, according to the Global Peace Index, are the safest countries in the world.
10: The Czech Republic
Containing some of the most beautiful cities in the world, the Czech Republic has an almost non-existent crime rate relative to other countries. The index reports that the Czech Republic has a minimal access to weapons as well. In fact, according to the index, crime rate has only improved in the last few years, and the only reason the country has fallen from 7th place to 10th is because of increased involvement in foreign conflicts.
Japan has been ranking in the top 10 safest countries for over a decade at this point, and it’s no surprise why. Educated and almost crime-free, Japan is a bastion of peace and tranquility. Tourists are often heard praising how clean and safe the country feels when they come back from their visits. Tokyo is actually ranked as the safest city in the world. The index also notes that immigration and access to firearms are strictly controlled in Japan.
One of the safest countries in Eastern Europe, Slovenia is characterized by its exceptionally low crime rate and non—existent terrorism. Over the years Slovenia has also been demilitarizing, which has certainly helped its spot on the index. It doesn’t hurt that its cities are so charming either.
Following Tokyo, the city-state of Singapore is the second safest city in the world. Not only is it dazzlingly beautiful and densely populated in the prettiest fashion, it is also one of the safest places a tourist can go. Its extraordinarily low crime rate can be largely attributed to the severe penalties in place for every kind of act imaginable. You might be safe there, but be sure to read up on what not to do when you’re there to avoid fines for trivial things; like chewing gum or singing.
Canada is often jokingly referred to as America’s nicer cousin or brother, and it sort of does hold true in the index. Apart from the low crime rates and great employment opportunities, Canada is the only country where the index notes that the people are very friendly, a trait for which Canadians are known for. Education is also a strong point of Canada’s, as well as the access to good healthcare. Crossing into Canada from Detroit can be quite the eye-opening experience.
Denmark is a slice of paradise on Earth. Extremely safe, the country is heralded as one of the most equal countries in the world. All citizens are treated equally, and all are provided with everything necessary to live out a comfortable and happy life. Corruption is also noted to be rare, as honesty is a virtue that is very prized among Danes.
Apart from being confused with Australia (it happens way more often than you might think) Austria is known for beautiful cities with low crime rates and a peace-loving people. Terrorism is non-existent and you can safely roam the cities and towns at any time of day.
Portugal wasn’t always this high on the list; it was ranked 18th in 2014. However, increased police presence has exponentially driven down crime and the country’ economy has made a resurgence. As well as economic stability having been achieved, Portugal has been ranked as the best country to retire in in 2020. It also helps that Portugal is a gorgeous country with scenic vistas and beautiful cities.
2: New Zealand
Nestled away safely in the corner of the world (seriously, some maps just straight up forget to include New Zealand) is the island paradise of New Zealand. Though the Christchurch attack has left a mark on the country’s reputation, it nevertheless still makes second place on the list. Violent crime is very low, and the wildlife is not nearly as dangerous as its neighbor Australia. Also, people from New Zealand are informally called Kiwis so that just proves it’s a swell place to live.
Iceland has ranked as the safest country in the world 12 impressive years consecutively. This little nation of only 340,000 people consistently maintains its iconic high standards of living and equality among all. It also doesn’t have a military, and we are sure there’s a moral lesson in there about how you can literally be the safest place in the world if you don’t fight.
Ending the list with the safest countries should have helped end this post on a positive note. It frankly is quite amazing just how diverse our way of life is on this tiny rock floating in Space. And here’s to unironically hoping for world peace and love for all.