Switzerland belongs to a select group including Japan, Panama, Vietnam, Chile, Costa Rica, Qatar, Uruguay, Mauritius and Botswana in being free of internal and external conflicts, according to the Global Peace Index 2016.
The study produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) think tank also lists Switzerland – which has compulsory military service – as the seventh most peaceful country in the world.
It is one of just eleven countries in the world with a ‘very high’ peace rating.
At the top of the rankings in the IEP’s tenth global peace report were Iceland, Denmark and Austria. Syria was the least peaceful country in the world for the second year in a row, below both Iraq and South Sudan.
But Switzerland’s positive results come in the context of a decreasing world peace, according to the report’s authors.
This decline reflects “an underlying decade-long deterioration in world peacefulness driven primarily by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability,” the IEP said in a media release.
“The historic ten-year deterioration in peace has largely been driven by the intensifying conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa region [the world’s least peaceful],” the report’s authors stated.
“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 sixty years,” the report says, highlighting the global effects of breakdowns in peace.
In total 81 countries have become more peaceful in the last 12 months, while 79 have become less so.
But The IEP report also noted a couple of upsides: rising UN peacekeeping funding, and a fall in the number of countries of countries which have high levels of police and internal security officers.
“These are promising developments that counter the fall in overall global peace,” the report noted.
The IEP studies the relationship between economics, business and peace with the Global Peace Index results based on factors including a country's involvement in internal and external conflicts, domestic safety and security and levels of militarization.