Every year, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases its Global Peace Index report. This report is the only one of its kind that measures how dangerous or safe a nation is based on 23 different indicators, including political terror, deaths from internal conflict, and murder rate.
The GPI report evaluates 163 countries with account for over 99% of the world’s total population. The factors analyzed in the report are grouped into three different areas:
- Safety and Security
- Ongoing Conflict
Most Dangerous Countries
Below are the ten most dangerous countries in the world. The majority of these countries have a Level 3 or Level 4 travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State.
Afghanistan is the most dangerous country in the world, according to the 2019 Global Peace Index. According to the UN peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, the country experienced 3,804 civilian deaths in conflict, 927 of who are children. Afghanistan experiences deadly attacks from the Taliban across the country and the U.S. is now in its 19th year of war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has the highest number of deaths from war and terrorism than any other country in the world.
Syria is the second-most dangerous country in the world. Syria only recently was put in second by Afghanistan. The Syrian civil war has plagued the country since March 2011 and has been the second-deadliest war of the 21st century. An estimated 470,000 people, including 55,000 children, have been killed in the Syrian conflict. High levels of violence have been persistent throughout Syria including the use of small arms, tanks, chemical weapons, artillery, and aircraft. As of March 2019, 5.7 million people have fled Syria and over 6 million have been displaced internally.
The third-most dangerous country in the world is Iraq. Iraq continues to have both internal and external conflicts, including likely terrorist attacks. ISIS continues to capture and kill civilians and Iraqi armed forces. Other human rights violations, including violations of freedom of assembly and women’s rights, have persisted. U.S. citizens visiting Iraq are at particularly high risk for violence and kidnapping and are a target of Anti-U.S. sectarian militias throughout Iraq.
4. South Sudan
South Sudan is the fourth-most dangerous country in the world. South Sudan has ongoing conflict, civil unrest, and widespread violent crime, including robberies, assaults, carjacking, and kidnappings. Armed conflict exists mostly between the government and opposition groups, with little to no rule of law or order outside the country’s capital of Juba. Areas near South Sudan’s borders with Sudan, Kenya, Central African Republic, and so on, are particularly dangerous. Additionally, South Sudan is at high risk for climate disasters.
The fifth-most dangerous country in the world is Yemen. Yemeni Civil War began in 2015 between two factions: the Abdrabbuuh Mansur Hadi led government and the Houthi armed movement. Yemen has the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, where four years of ongoing conflict has resulted in 4.3 million people leaving their homes and 14 million people at risk of starvation and outbreaks of deadly diseases. About 80% of the Yemen population (24 million people) is in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.
Somalia is the sixth-most dangerous country in the world. Somalia has high kidnapping risks in all parts of the country. Terror attacks are likely at Mogadishu International airport, government buildings, hotels, and restaurants. Foreigners, government officials, and UN workers are significant targets of these attacks. Somalia’s droughts and food shortages have compounded the already unstable environment and security and effective police forces are absent.
Libya is the seventh-most dangerous country in the world. Libya has experienced high levels of crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and terrorism. The violence in Libya is mostly caused by militias that continue to clash with one another over territory and resources. ISIS has carried out several attacks that killed both civilians and security force members. The capital, Tripoli, and other large cities such as Suman, Al-Jufra, Misrata, Ajdabiya, and Benghazi, have been frequent locations of fighting among militias and terrorist attacks.
8. Democratic Republic of the Congo
The eighth-most dangerous country in the world is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC recently experienced an Ebola outbreak, which has claimed over 2,200 lives, according to the World Health Organization. The ability of health workers to provide care to treat Ebola patients has been hindered by the violence occurring in the DRC. Demonstrations are common in cities around the country and often turn violent. Violent crimes are common as well, such as armed home invasion, robberies, and assault and police lack the resources to effectively respond to crime.
9. Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is the ninth-most dangerous country in the world. Despite a peace agreement signed in 2017, chaos in the country has continued to grow and spread. The main source of unrest in the Central African Republic is the clash between the Seleka rebels and the Anti-Balaka militia. The conflict has displaced 620,000 people internally and created 570,000 refugees leaving to neighboring countries. Kidnappings are widespread, as are reports of violence, looting, and human rights abuses across the country.
Russia is the tenth-most dangerous country in the world. Russia’s high militarization contributes to its position on the list, along with having one of the highest per-capita rates of weapons exports. Russia, unlike the other countries on this list, has a Level 2 travel advisory from the U.S Department of State to exercise increased caution when visiting. Russia is susceptible to transnational and local terrorist groups, and individuals inspired by extremist ideologies. Russian officials have also arbitrarily detained U.S. citizens, who may become victims of harassment or extortion.