Swaziland is the 85th most peaceful country
MBABANE – Swaziland is the 85th most peaceful country in the world.
This is according to the peacefulness ranking list of countries on the Global Peace Index (GPI), which was released last month. There are 158 countries that were ranked, and on the 85th spot Swaziland is tied with Ecuador.
The GPI is the product of Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and is developed in consultation with an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and ‘think tanks’ with data collected and collated by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The list was launched first in May 2007 and is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea. It is endorsed by individuals such as Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, Economist Jeffrey Sachs, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, and former US President Jimmy Carter. According to the latest list, Swaziland is more peaceful than 73 other countries, such as the United States of America which is at position 88, Equatorial Guinea at 87, Zimbabwe at 140, South Africa at 127, Burundi at 138, and the People’s Republic of China at 89.
The least peaceful country is Somalia at 158. Countries considered to be more peaceful than Swaziland include Mozambique at position 48, Zambia 51, Lesotho 53, Singapore 23, Demark two, Botswana 31, Kuwait at 47, and Malawi 60 among many others.
The most peaceful country is Iceland at position one.
Factors examined by the authors include internal factors such as levels of violence and crime within the country and factors in a country’s external relations such as military expenditure and wars.
The index is launched each year at events in London, Washington DC, the United Nations in New York and in Brussels. The main findings of the Global Peace Index are that peace is correlated to indicators such as income, schooling and the level of regional integration.
Also, peaceful countries often shared high levels of transparency of government and low corruption. Small, stable countries which are part of regional blocks are most likely to get a higher ranking.
Countries’ peacefulness was also measured by the Economist Intelligence Unit based on wide range of indicators, 23 in all.
Such included the number of external and internal wars fought, relations with neighbouring countries, potential for terrorist acts, level of perceived criminality in society, likelihood of violent demonstrations, the number of police and security officers and the number of jailed persons.
... level down by 16 positions
MBABANE – Even though the kingdom is among the first hundred countries deemed peaceful this year, the level of peacefulness has gone down by 16 positions.
Last year, Swaziland was ranked 69th and in 2010 ranked 73rd.
There is no data for previous years since the country was included in the study two years ago. There is no explanation provided in the study for the drop of the kingdom.
Mozambique, Swaziland’s closest neighbour has been more peaceful on the GPI since the launch of the list in 2007.
Just like this year, last year they were ranked at 48th position and in 2010 at 47th. South Africa, at 127th position is among the least peaceful and in fact dropped from 118th position last year. In 2010 it was position 121.
Govt spokesman agrees
MBABANE – Percy Simelane, Government Press Secretary, says Swaziland is indeed one of the most peaceful countries in the world.
He said whatever position was given to the country on the Global Peace Index (GPI), it did not change that realistically and truthfully the country was peaceful.
"Swaziland is a country that has not experienced civil war since history, no coup de tat, no ethical cleansing, no recruitment of child soldiers, no curfews, no political executions, no hit squads, no political prisoners and no Swazi refugees outside our borders," said Simelane.
He added that the country still had free and fair elections all the time and therea has never been any United Nations (UN) Security Council intervention in over half a century.
However, he conceded that the country had its own social and economical challenges, but they could hardly translate into turmoil to a normal thinking person.
Simelane highlighted that there was always a 100 per cent smooth changing of government every five years.
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