Political instability and internal conflict have contributed to Latvia dropping to 54th place in the Global Peace Index compiled by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace.
Last year Latvia improved its ranking to the 39th most peaceful nation in the world, up from 47th in 2007. However, economic and political events late last year—which spilled over into a large Jan. 13 demonstration that ended with some protesters rioting—contributed to the country’s slip in the ranking, according to the institute.
The third annual ranking, now listing 144 countries, was released June 2 in London and Washington, D.C.
The Baltic nation is not alone in becoming less peaceful, according to the institute, which reported that the worldwide change “appears to reflect the intensification of violent conflict in some countries and the effects of both the rapidly rising food and fuel prices early in 2008 and the dramatic global economic downturn in the final quarter of the year.”
No. 1 on the Global Peace Index is New Zealand, which swapped positions with last year’s most peaceful nation, Iceland, which now is No. 4. Iraq remains the least peaceful nation, the same spot it has held in all three years of the index.
Within the Central and Eastern European region, Latvia is in the middle of the pack at 11th. Slovenia, which ranks ninth overall, is listed as the most peaceful in the region. Russia, close to the bottom of the world rankings at 136th, is last in the region.
The index gives each country an overall score from 1, indicating most peaceful, to 5, meaning least peaceful. Latvia’s score in this year’s index is 1.773, the same as Egypt.
Estonia, with a score of 1.661, ranks 38th, down from 35th last year. Lithuania, with a score of 1.687, slipped from 41st last year to 43rd this year, the same ranking it had in the first Global Peace Index.
Further information on the Global Peace Index is available by visiting www.visionofhumanity.org.
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