The annual Global Peace Index report 2022 has revealed that the average level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.3 per cent in 2021 to the lowest level in 15 years fuelled mainly by post-Covid economic uncertainty and Ukraine conflict.
The report, which covered 99.7 per cent of the world's population and used 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources to compile the index, found that countries deteriorate much faster than they improve.
Although 90 countries improved, and 71 deteriorated, two of the five countries with the largest deteriorations in peacefulness were Russia and the Ukraine, joined by Guinea, Burkina Faso and Haiti. All these deteriorations were due to ongoing conflict.
We all know that the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed countries towards unprecedented economic and political crises. Also the fact is that countries that had become progressively more peaceful faced outbreaks of protests and violence aimed at expressing the people’s ire at the respective governments’ handling of the pandemic and the situation followed.
After the pandemic came the Ukraine-Russia war, the impact of which is still being felt. It has had a significant effect on the Peace Index. Many European nations near Russia have seen scores deteriorate for relations with neighbours, including Finland, Sweden, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova.
While South Asia was the region with the highest frequency and intensity of violent demonstrations where India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan recorded their highest levels since the inception of the Index, in Europe, there were widespread anti-lockdown protests, especially in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Croatia and the UK, with similar developments in North America.
With regards to countries in the Arab region, the Sultanate of Oman moved up nine places to be ranked among the top five Arab countries in the Global Peace Index for the year 2022. Globally, Oman has been ranked 64 with a score of 1,889 points. Other Arab countries in the Index are Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and the UAE.
The Sultanate of Oman has been advocating a peaceful world order ever since the late Sultan Qaboos ascended to the throne in 1970. Under his leadership, Oman commanded global respect and appreciation as an effective peace broker in the Middle East.
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik too envisions a conflict-free world; and in his first address to the nation immediately after taking office stressed on the continuation of the country’s foreign policy fundamentals that are based on peaceful coexistence and friendly relations with nations, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and international cooperation in various spheres, among others.
Oman guarantees protection for its citizens and residents from all forms of violence through its regulations, legislations and laws. It has also set forth many programmes and projects providing protection for individuals and the society and for reducing mortality. It is a member of many International Human Rights Conventions, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities etc.
All Omani legislations assertively ban discrimination between individuals, and provide legal protection from all forms of violence to all social categories with many mechanisms and institutions including the National Commission for Family Affairs, the National Human Rights Commission, the National Committee for the Care and Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, the Follow-up Committee on the Rights of the Child and the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking.
The Omani Penal Code, issued under Royal Decree No (7/2018) affirms the necessity to provide protection against all forms of violence to all social categories including women, children and persons with disabilities, in a way that instead of excluding them from law, provides them with special attention and focus due to their particular circumstances that require and call for further care and protection.
Walking towards the future, responding to its developments and maintaining the difference and tolerance of the country’s cultural characteristics is the most coveted input for Oman Vision 2040. In fact, this vision is built on openness to the world with roots well enshrined and a well-built understanding of Omani identity components.
In the efforts deployed by the Sultanate of Oman in disseminating the culture of peace, and its contribution to the dialogue of civilisations and seeking the convergence of views among people, the government launched the Message of Peace Project.
The project focuses on fostering and disseminating common human values worldwide namely, dialogue, coexistence and mutual understanding, as a trilogy crucial for the instilment of peace, security, dialogue and stability based on the civilisational experience Oman has witnessed.
The writer is a journalist and author