The Institute for Economics and Peace has just released its Global Peace Index 2017, a scholarly analysis of the state of world peace, including country by country assessments.
The Global Peace Index is based on three areas associated with peace (or lack of it): Levels of Societal Safety and Security, extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict, and degree of Militarization. It is considered by many scholars to be the best measure of just how peaceful our world and its nations are.
Of 163 countries (and territories) studied, 93 countries had an increase in their Global Peace Index this year, whereas 68 countries had a fall in their Global Peace Index.
You can access and download the Global Peace Index 2017 here:
Sadly, the country with the biggest decline in Global Peace Index worldwide was Ethiopia.
To quote the report:
“Ethiopia suffered the biggest decline, both in [sub-Saharan Africa] and globally…”
In ranking, Ethiopia fell 16 positions to 134th place out of 163 countries/territories.
According to the report, “Ethiopia’s score has suffered as a result of violent protests that led to a state of emergency giving the government significant powers to crack down on dissidents.”
It goes on to say that “in order to address the turbulent domestic environment,” the Ethiopian government has increased military expenditure.
(Dr Frank Ashall, the author of this post, took these two photos in Addis Ababa in 2016.)
The Ethiopian regime practices state terrorism. It has beaten, jailed, tortured, killed thousands upon thousands of civilians during its 26 years of rule. It has denied freedom of speech, freedom of press, stifled human rights, intimidated its citizens, scaring them into silence.
During my four years in Ethiopia, I was shocked by how people fear to talk about politics or to criticize their government.
Even when my friends were in my apartment, most refused to say anything negative about the government, fearing that “there might be spies next door,” listening in on our conversations.
In August 2016, I was walking calmly close to my workplace in Addis Ababa, minding my own business, when suddenly I found myself among a group of peaceful protesters who had been arrested by government forces. I watched- shocked- as two federal soldiers were beating two young, unarmed men (students?) with long leather batons. One young man fell to the ground as the soldier continued to beat him. Two soldiers lifted him off the ground and threw him onto the back of a military truck. One of the soldiers continued to beat him aggressively. The doctor in me wanted to stop what was going on and help the poor victim, but what could I do?- I too was helpless.
Within seconds, an angry soldier came within a few metres of me, screaming at me, pointing and shaking his Kalashnikov automatic rifle at me. For a moment I thought it was going to be the last moment of my life. Fortunately, I held my hands up and retreated.
I was lucky. Tens of thousands of peaceful civilians have been shot dead by the Ethiopian military over the years, yet the ruling party continues to be in power, winning all 547 seats in the last (2015) election by banning, harassing, beating, jailing and killing opposition party members, and putting fear into civilians, silencing their voices.
Fragile State Index
It is, therefore, no surprise to me, that Ethiopia’s Global Peace Index has fallen.
It’s no surprise, also, that the Fragile States Index 2017, Ethiopia was the country, out of 178 countries reported, with the worst decline in the prior year. Ethiopia now ranks the 15th (out of 178 countries) most fragile state, with a score of 101.1 out of 120, where 120 is the worst possible score.
The Fragile States Index is “based on twelve social, economic, and political indicators that quantifies pressures experienced by countries, and thus their susceptibility to instability:”
State oppression and peace in Ethiopia are incompatible. The Ethiopian government tends to blame its civilians or diaspora on the unrest there, calling many of them “terrorists,” but the entire blame is upon the government, which seems to think it can silence and kill its citizens and maintain stability.
The decline in Ethiopia’s Global Peace Index has been precipitated by years of government oppression and intimidation of its people.