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The safest countries in the world

Last updated on: June 10, 2009 19:46 IST

Image: Rain clouds gather over Lake Te Anau on the south island of New Zealand
Photographs: Russell Boyce/Reuters

The Antipodean islands have long been regarded as one of the best places to live. New Zealand has always been near the top of the Global Peace Index. The 2009 Global Peace Index ranks New Zealand as the safest country to live in.

The survey gives New Zealand a very low score on the likelihood of violence and violent crimes. Its also scores very low on hostility to foreigners.

The survey ranked countires on various criteria and their countire with the lowset scores were considered the safest to live in.

The safest countries in the world - Denmark and Norway

Image: The new opera house in Oslo, Norway
Photographs: Kyrre Lien/Reuters

Denmark and Norway score the same on the Global Peace Index. Both the Scandinavian countries are ranked at the second spot in the index.

Both countries score very well in human rights and political stability. They also have the lowest scores on gender inequality.


The safest countries in the world - Japan

Image: A man takes a nap underneath a tree at a park in Tokyo
Photographs: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Iceland is ranked fourth in the global peace Index. Iceland scores very high in literacy and civil liberties.

Austria is placed fifth in the rankings. Austria scores very highly on democracy and education.

Sweden is placed sixth in the rankings. The Scandinavian coutries dominate the top of the rankings and have similar scores on all fronts.

Japan, the highest ranked Asian country, is ranked seventh. Japan scores very low on military expenditure and number of armed service personnel.

The safest countries in the world - Canada

Image: The CN tower, a landmark in Toronto, Canada
Photographs: Fred Thornhill/Reuters

Canada is the only North American country to figure in the top 10. Canada, which holds the eighth slot, has the highest percentage of women in Parliament in the Americas. Finland is ranked ninth on the survey.

Slovenia is ranked tenth by the index.

The safest countries in the world - Oman and Qatar

Image: A view of the Al Alam Royal Palace in Muscat, Oman
Photographs: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Oman is ranked twenty-first in the rankings. Both Oman and Qatar score high on relations with neighbouring countries. They are the highest ranked Arab countries in the survey.

Oman and Qatar are constitutional monarchies and form part of strife-torn Middle-East.

The safest countries in the world - Australia

Image: The Sydney Opera House
Photographs: Tim Wimborne/Reuters

Australia is ranked 19th by the index. Australia has been in the news recently for racist attacks on Indian students, but a relaxed immigration procedure and positive human development indicators make it an attractive country to live in.

Switzerland is ranked 18th in the survey.

Chile is ranked 20th in the survey. It is the highest ranking South American country.

The safest countries in the world - Bhutan

Image: A view of the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong or a fortress-monastery in Thimphu, Bhutan
Photographs: Singye Wangchuk/Reuters
Bhutan is the highest ranking South Asian country. It occupies the 40th slot. The country that coined the concept of gross national happiness does well on human rights and boasts of low levels of violent crimes.

The safest countries in the world - China

Image: An elderly Chinese woman naps on a park bench near the Forbidden City in China
Photographs: STR New/Reuters

The world's most populous nation, China is ranked at 74th by the index. While the Communist nation scores low on political rights and human rights, its does well on the development indicators and material well being.

However, hosting the Olympics in 2008 hasn't helped the country as China slid five places from last year's index.

The safest countries in the world - Nepal

Image: The Shital Niwas Palace or the presidential palace is reflected on a pond in Kathmandu
Photographs: Gopal Chitrakar/Reuters

The Himalayan nation went through political turmoil last year with the monarchy being abolished and an elected Communist government taking over. 

The political instability in the country continued following the hung Parliament. However, Nepal's human development indicators have improved vastly in the last three years.

The safest countries in the world - Kuwait

Image: Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah during the opening session of the Parliament
Photographs: Stephanie McGehee/Reuters

In the most unstable neighbourhood in the world, Kuwait is an oasis of calm, and is ranked 42nd by the index. Considering that Iraq, the most dangerous place to live in the world, borders Kuwait, this achievement is no mean feat.

Kuwait is regarded as one the most progressive Arab states and scores high in education and material well-being.