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The World Is A Terrible Place, New Study Finds

These are the world's 10 least peaceful countries, according to the 2014 Global Peace Index (GPI).

Posted on June 11, 2014, at 5:10 p.m. ET


The world is overall becoming a less peaceful place and Syria is the least peaceful of all, according to the 2014 Global Peace Index(GPI) which will be released next Wednesday 18th June by the non-profit Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

GPI is a yearly ranking of nations based on their level of peace. The study ranks 162 states (covering about 99.6 percent of the world's population) using 22 indicators centered around three broad themes: the level of social safety and security, degree of domestic and international conflict, and extent of militarization.

The full findings of the report will show: trends in global peace levels; the results of a new model which identifies countries at risk of descending into violence and unrest; the top risers and fallers in this year's index; and the full list of 162 countries' levels of peace worldwide.

Here are the world's least peaceful countries, according to the 2014 GPI.

1. Syria

AP Photo/UNRWA, File

More than 160,000 people have died in Syria since 2011, while more than 9 million are displaced inside and outside Syria. The initially largely non-violent Syrian uprising has descended into a bloody civil war between President Bashar al-Assad, the violent Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and various Islamist and national rebel factions with degrees of regional support.

2. Afghanistan

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times / MCT

After years of conflict, violence in Afghanistan is again on the rise, with Taliban attacks, political corruption, and economic shortages continuing to make the lives of Afghans a daily struggle.

3. South Sudan

Courtesy of Peter Biro for IRC

In December 2013, violence broke out between rival political and tribal factions in South Sudan, the world's youngest country. Peace talks have since continued to falter, as the violence has killed thousands and left nearly seven million at risk of hunger and 3.7 million facing starvation.

4. Iraq

AP Photo/ Emad Matti

Violence in Iraq has been rising at a scary rate: More than 480 people were killed in the first week of June 2014 alone. In recent months, Islamist militants have taken over key parts of western Iraq, while the Iraqi government has failed to secure civilians and cut pervading corruption.

5. Somalia

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

The militant group al-Shabaab has been terrorizing much of Somalia for years. The weak central-government has made some gains in pushing back al-Shabaab, but the country's violence combined with economic, political, and health problems continues to constrain developments forward.

6. Sudan

Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters

After decades in power, Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir faces charges of war crimes by the International Criminal Court. The Sudanese government and aligned militia's continue to terrorize communities in the Darfur area, where the U.N. estimates 3 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

7. Central African Republic

Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times / MCT

Ethno-religious fighting in the Central African Republic broke out again last spring, with Muslim and Christian communities, backed by political factions, now engaged in a bloody tit-for-tat. U.N. officials have warned that CAR could face genocide-like conditions if the violence does not soon stop.

8. The Democratic Republic of Congo

Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

Congo has been wrought with political instability for decades, with spillover from conflicts in neighboring Sudan, Rwanda, and Central African Republic further destabilizing domestic developments.

9. Pakistan

Fayaz Aziz / Reuters

Pakistan's security situation has worsened in recent months, with militia attacks against civilian and government targets complicating the country's precarious state.

10. North Korea

North Korea is often described as the world's most repressive state. The government highly restricts the free flow of information; activists say millions are at risk of starvation, while an unknown thousands are held in torturous conditions in prison. North Korea's militarization and escalation of its nuclear weapons program has kept it continually low on the index.

Correction: This article originally misstated the date of the 2014 study's release. It is Wednesday, June 18, not June 11.