Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom slips in peace index

Kingdom slips in peace index

Military personnel are loaded onto a truck outside Olympic Stadium in 2013.
Military personnel are loaded onto a truck outside Olympic Stadium in 2013. Cambodia dropped five places on the Global Peace Index over the last year due to high military spending and violent crime.

Kingdom slips in peace index

Despite slipping five places in the Global Peace Index (GPI) in the past 12 months due to high rates of violent crime and military spending, Cambodia has made strides in peace efforts, experts said yesterday.

The 2015 GPI, released yesterday, assesses a nation’s proclivity for peace based on factors of social security, militarisation, and the degree of conflict at home and abroad. Cambodia was ranked as Asia-Pacific’s 5th least peaceful nation – out of 19 – and 111th out 162 worldwide.

According to the index, Cambodia maintains a fragile position in a “medium state of peace” amid a region with some of the world’s most stable and volatile nations, but has nonetheless made progress.

“This is a remarkable story in many ways, because if we go back 20 years ago, [Cambodia] would be one of the least peaceful countries in the world,” said Steve Killelea, an Australian technology expert who founded the GPI in 2007.

Cambodia lost key “ranking” points this year for failing to sufficiently meet their obligations to pay UN peacekeeping dues, and for instability on the Thai-Cambodia border.

“Peace in Cambodia has deteriorated, but only slightly,” explained Killelea. “What you have to understand is that peace around the globe has deteriorated.”

Killelea praised the Kingdom’s decreased rate of mortality from internal conflict, a low level of displaced people (compared to 10 years ago), as well as zero incidents of terrorism and minimal weapons trafficking.

The 2015 index also assessed “Positive Peace”, a measure of effectiveness in creating and maintaining a peaceful society. Cambodia’s score, not published in the public report, has improved more than 5 per cent since 2005.

“The only positive peace factor which didn’t improve was corruption, which increased slightly over the last decade,” Killelea noted.

However Phay Siphan, Council of Ministers spokesman, was adamant that corruption is being addressed and rejected the assessment of border instability.

“Everything is under control, and we are maintaining that stability,” he said, adding that “corruption was a sin” that the Anti-Corruption Unit is working to educate against.

Ou Virak, a political analyst and founder of the Future Forum think tank, countered that corruption is very real and expressed concern over the currently uncertain status of hundreds of thousands of migrant Cambodian workers who have yet to get legal documentation in Thailand.

“Political corruption is one of the main reasons to be afraid of internal instability,” he said. “There is very little optimism among youth.… They are seeking jobs outside of the country, and that is not a good sign.”

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in