South Africa has dropped 29 places in the Global Peace Index.
South Africa has been ranked 127 out of 158 countries in the Global Peace Index, dropping 29 places since 2007.
The Global Peace Index represents a groundbreaking milestone in the study of peace. It ranks the nations of the world by their peacefulness and identifies some of the drivers of peace, according to the Vision of Humanity website.
Iceland has been ranked as the most peaceful country for the second year in a row, with Somalia being the least peaceful country also for the second year in a row.
The definition of peace involves measuring the peacefulness within the country as well as with other nations. There are 23 indicators used, ranging from a nation’s level of military spending to its relationships with bordering countries and the level of respect for human rights. Other determinants of peace include levels of democracy and transparency, education and material wellbeing.
The index has showed that overall the world has become slightly more peaceful over the past year. All regions apart from the Middle East and North Africa have improved levels of peacefulness.
So why has South Africa dropped in its ranking?
Director of the South African National Peace Project (SANPP), Patrys Wolmarens believes that South Africans have moved considerably backwards as a nation over the past five years with regards to being peaceful, which was the main reason for the launch of the SANPP.
“Because of widespread crime and racial conflict, the majority of South Africans from different sides of the political spectrum, and those outside the political spectrum, see themselves as potential victims. This sense of insecurity feeds into the growth of vigilantism and the demand for guns, while social psychological stresses may feed alcohol and drug abuse, which itself feeds into crime,” says Wolmarens.
Wolmarens, however, feels that South Africa is able to get to a stage where there will be little violence and racism. She says that overall South Africans have proved that they prefer to live in peace. Wolmarens says that the choice is ours.
“However, before long that choice could slip through our fingers and we could find ourselves powerless, victims of a frightening, destructive power, like that of an earthquake,” she says.