What Are the Ten Most Violent Countries in the World?

This infamous list could change at any moment

Other than during the two world wars, planet earth may have as much violence now as it ever has. This may be a measure of the population, now over 7 billion, bringing about a depletion of natural resources and climate change, both of which could lead to conflicts. India and Pakistan may go to war over a shortage of fresh water brought about by shrinking glaciers in the Himalaya. Politics and religion will always play a part as well.

Anyway, there are many places in the world to which you wouldn’t send your worst enemies. After doing some research I’ve compiled a list of that kind for the sake of mutual education and discussion.

Please be advised this list could change quickly and adjustments to it will almost certainly be made in the coming months and years.

Please keep reading!

10. The Philippines

The Philippines is a democratic country, but this democracy comes at a high price. In fact, candidates can’t run for the presidency in this country unless they possess a private army to defend themselves. Offering their services, since the presidential election in 2010, more than 130 private armies have operated in the Philippines. This political "warlordism" often leads to the murders of scores, if not hundreds of people. Particularly at risk are journalists, who are killed in the Philippines almost as often as they are in Iraq. Also, in parts of the island of Mindanao, as many as 82 per cent of the people have been displaced by political violence.

There is also a great degree of violence against women and children in the Philippines. It’s been estimated that one in five women aged 15 to 49 have experienced violence, often in the form of rape. Human trafficking is also a major problem in the Philippines.

9. Mexico

It would be hard to imagine violence more brutal, and the number of people killed higher in number, than that caused by Mexico’s infamous drug cartels. Estimates since 2006 show that more than 60,000 people have been killed by drug related violence in Mexico, the overwhelming amount of which caused by the dreaded cartels. Most of this violence has taken place in the northern portion of Mexico, because of its proximity to America’s lucrative drug market, particularly its addiction to cocaine.

Fortunately, in recent years, violence caused by the cartels has ebbed somewhat, if for no other reason than the Mexican government has used 50,000 army troops to wage war against the cartels, while the U.S. is doing its part by trying to curtail drug trafficking between the two countries.

8. South Sudan

Unfortunately, the new country of South Sudan has not been able to escape the civil and ethnic unrest of its parent country, Sudan, ravaged for decades by civil war. Independent since July 2011, South Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world, is also one of the most violent. At times, hundreds if not thousands of partisans and/or civilians die in sporadic conflicts, and many more people are often displaced by horrific violence.

Violence sparked by political and/or ethnic animosity often leads to trouble, as most people know, but the country’s scarce resources and lack of public services, generates even more conflicts. When people are starving or dying of thirst, what can they do but take what they need to survive? This situation invariably leads to trouble. Clearly this new country has a long ways to go before it becomes a state with much less violence.

7. Colombia

Colombia has been troubled for decades by unequal and/or disputed land ownership. At times, paramilitary groups remove farmers or ranchers from their land and use it for nefarious purposes, that is, mass killings, robberies, rape, kidnapping, hijacking, extortion and drug trafficking. And farmers and ranchers aren’t the only victims of these heavily armed criminal groups: human rights defenders, trade unionists, journalists and ordinary citizens are often targeted.

What’s particularly troubling about these paramilitary groups, many of them left-wing guerrilla organizations such as the National Liberation Army, is that just years ago many of them fought to overthrow the government. But now they have turned to crime to make money, greatly increasing the level of violence in this beleaguered nation.

6. Zimbabwe

Political instability caused by the regime of President Robert Mugabe has led to egregious violence in this central African country. Mugabe seems willing to intimidate, imprison, torture or murder anyone who opposes his repressive regime. Once billed as a freedom-fighter in his earlier days, Mugabe has become another petty tyrant who refuses to leave office, which means elections in this country present dangerous circumstances for anybody opposing him.

To make matters worse - and perhaps generate a fair amount of violence as well – Zimbabwe has had perhaps the highest inflation rate of any nation ever – a monthly percentage rate of 79.6 billion. One bill of currency from this period shows an amount of $100 trillion dollars! But in recent times foreign currencies have been adopted, stabilizing prices somewhat.

5. Pakistan

Pakistan is a country beset with violence, a situation that is particularly troubling since it is also one of the world’s nuclear powers. Much of this violence is sectarian – the Hindus vs. the Muslims or the Sunnis vs. the Shiites or the Christians vs. the Muslims. But numerous terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have infiltrated the country as well.

And then there’s the violence perpetrated by the continual animosity between Pakistan and India, particularly in the disputed territory of Kashmir, where both countries have been fighting each other since India and Pakistan became independent nations in 1947. Both nuclear powers, violence between these countries could lead to a nuke swapping conflagration nobody wants to see happen in a million years.

4. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Formerly the Belgian Congo, Congo Free State, Zaire and now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and not to be confused with the neighboring country of Congo, this nation has been torn apart by a succession of civil wars since the middle 1990s. Estimates show that over five million people have been killed in these conflicts, the costliest in terms of the loss of human life since World War Two.

But not everyone has been killed in combat during these civil wars. As Civilians have fled the violence, they’ve died from preventable diseases and a lack of food, water, medicine and shelter. Appallingly, since 2009, 45,000 people per month may have died in the wars! The sexual violence during this period has been staggering as well, and considered the worst in the world. In February 2013, a United Nations accord was signed by many African countries and aimed at stabilizing conditions in this beleaguered state. Let’s hope it does some good!

3. Afghanistan

As for Afghanistan, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda remain in the country at least to some extent, as the violence continues, as it always seemingly has, and quite possibly always will, no matter who's in power at any particular time, whether it’s the British, the Americans, the Russians, Alexander the Great or the Afghans themselves. This Afghanistan, this failed state to the nth degree, may always be as dangerous as a scorpion and as deadly as a suicide bomber - as well as, of course, ungovernable.

According to the current timetable, the United States pulled its military forces out of Afghanistan in 2014, leaving the country to fend for itself in a very dangerous part of the world. (However, some American forces will probably remain there for some time.) It’s anyone’s guess whether Afghanistan can escape its troubled past and transform itself into a country with a safe and prosperous future. The U.S. is hoping that it finally will, of course.

2. Iraq

Iraq has been one of the world’s many hellholes for some time now - just ask members of the United States military, which fought there for eight seemingly endless years. These days the country is doing what it can to prevent the planet’s next civil war, this one pitting the Sunnis vs. the Shiites, another religious war - or one caused by sectarian violence – take your pick.

As was the case when the American military occupied Iraq, in recent times many innocent civilians have been killed by car bombs and other furtive explosive devices, many of these hapless victims in or about mosques when they were blown to kingdom come. So much for religious tolerance! Moreover, the Shiites, whose majority controls the country, are trying to pacify the Sunnis, as the Kurds in northern Iraq express their priority of having their own state. All of these scenarios don’t bode well for a peaceful future in Iraq.

Also, in recent times, ISIS, a group of Islamic terrorists bent on spreading jihadist terrorism throughout the world, has caused massive death and mayhem Iraq, drawing military action from countries such as the U.S.

1. Syria

Civil wars are nearly always devastating, and the one in Syria seems as terrible as they come. Since Marsh 2011, the security forces of President Bashar al-Assad have killed thousands of people, mostly rebels, it appears, but many hundreds of civilians, including children, have been killed as well. Reports show that the rebels have killed thousands of people too, causing a sustained blood bath of about 210,000 people at last count.

Determined to stay in power, Assad appears ready to do whatever it takes to defeat the rebels, perhaps even use chemical weapons. The United Nations is doing what it can to stop the conflict. But China and Russia support the Assad regime, while countries such as the U.S. tend to support the rebels. Of course, nobody knows for sure what the rebels are about or what they’re willing to do to further their cause.

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Comments 8 comments

my_girl_sara profile image

my_girl_sara 3 years ago from Georgia

Just curious where you got this ranking and what were the elements that were compared. Very interesting piece.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, my girl sara. In order to rank these countries, I simply did some research and then tried to measure the country's level of violence, which, of course, is not an easy thing to do. Basically, I'm trying to start a forum similar to what happened when I wrote a hub about Mexico's drug cartels. Later!

Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Sad lookout for poor old planet Earth. Is it women causing this violence?just had to make a point!

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 3 years ago from Asheville, NC

Interesting Hub. I believe you've covered the worse of the worse though there's no doubt there are others as well. Voted up and shared.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Gypsy Willow. You're right - the guys tend to be more aggressive, especially in political matters. I guess it's in the genes.

As for you suziecat7, plenty of other countries could have been included on this list. Greece could be here. And how about Burundi and the Congo? And some of these lists include the U.S. as well. Later!

LostInRevery profile image

LostInRevery 3 years ago from Maine

The Kurds just want to live their lives in peace just like anyone else! I did some research on them as well. Check this out http://hubpages.com/education/Brief-History-of-the...

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, LostInRevery. I'll check out your link and see what's up with the Kurds. Later!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 15 months ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, mk-globetrotter. For the purpose of this article, violence is violence, no matter what the cause. Besides, any type of person can be a terrorist - even eco-terrorists exist. Later!

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