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Report: Global Violence Worsens, Driven By Middle East Conflicts

Independent Afghan civil society activist women weep and lie on the grave of Afghan woman Farkhunda, 27, who was lynched by an angry mob, at the cemetery in central Kabul (file photo).

According to a new study, violence in the Middle East increased last year, while the rest of the world largely got safer.

"Terrorism is also at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict are at a 25 year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people are at a level not seen in 60 years," according to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s annual Global Peace Index published on June 8. "Notably, the sources for these three dynamics are intertwined and driven by a small number of countries."

The report says the economic cost of violence in 2015 was $13.6 trillion, or 13.3 percent of the world's gross domestic product.

Iceland was the safest country in the world, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, and Portugal.

The least peaceful country is Syria, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

And the five countries whose scores worsened the most last year included Ukraine, Turkey, Libya, and Bahrain.

The index is based on 23 indicators that include incidents of violent crime and the degree of militarization.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Bloomberg