Sunday, June 21, 2009

Botswana among the World's most peaceful countries

source: Republic of Botswana (18/6/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 16 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C5) 5/6/09: Botswana among the World's most peaceful countries

The newly released 2009 Global Peace Index (GPI) has ranked Botswana as one of the world's most peaceful countries, as well as the most peaceful country in Africa. Botswana's worldwide ranking in the Index was 34 out of the 144 countries measured in the survey, up six places from last year placing it just ahead of the United Kingdom.

According to the survey's authors Botswana high position was "a result of minimal militarization, an absence of external or internal conflicts and relatively low scores for most measures of safety and security", although they further note that the homicide rate remains relatively high.

Botswana high and improved position stands in sharp contrast that of neighbouring states South Africa and Zimbabwe, which were both singled out as numbering among the world's least peaceful societies.

New Zealand was ranked as the world's most peaceful nation, followed by Denmark and Norway. The world's least peaceful nations were reported to be Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Botswana's standing is also consistent with recent Afrobarometer findings, which showed 72% of Batswana expressing trust in both the courts and police service and 76% agreeing that people were rarely or never treated unequally under the law.

The Global Peace Index is maintained by the Institute for Economics and Peace and developed in consultation with an international panel of experts with data collected and analysed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The Index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, which combine such factors as levels of violence and crime, political stability, respect for human rights and the rule of law, potential for terrorist acts, likelihood of violent demonstrations, access to weapons, international standing and civilian control over the military.

In addition to the Economist Intelligence Unit, organizations engaged in the study include the United Nations Survey of Criminal Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, International Institute for Strategic Studies, University of Uppsala Conflict Data Programme, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Bonn International Centre for Conversion and the International Centre for Prisons Studies.

The Index is further said to have been tested against a broad range of "drivers" or potential determinants of peace, including levels of democracy and transparency, education and material wellbeing, which were collected from such additional sources as Amnesty International, the World Bank and Reporters without Frontiers.

The Global Peace Index was originally the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea, who argues that it "is a wake-up call for leaders around the globe." It has been endorsed by such individuals as Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel Laureates such as Martti Ahtisaari, Mary Robinson and Jimmy Carter.

In its Executive Summary the 2009 report states that: "The results of the Global Peace Index for 2009 suggest that the world has become slightly less peaceful in the past year, which 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."

The report goes on to note that "rapidly rising unemployment, pay freezes and falls in the value of house prices, savings and pensions is causing popular resentment in many countries, with political repercussions that have been registered by the GPI through various indicators measuring safety and security in society."

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