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...but on the bright side, fewer wars
Description: Iraq notwithstanding, a new study shows 'peacemaking' actually has an impact
Date: 03 February 2007
Author: Andrew Chung
Source: Toronto Star
Turn on the TV news or open a newspaper and you'll probably see carnage in Iraq, civil unrest in Lebanon, or clan clashes in Somalia. So much conflict and death. And yet, the Human Security Centre at the University of British Columbia keeps telling us the world is getting less conflicted.

In 2005, the Centre released a watershed study that showed the number of armed conflicts having plummeted 40 per cent in the world from 1992 to 2002. Now, in its latest Human Security Brief, the Centre reports that from 2002 to 2005, conflicts continued to drop another 15 per cent, from 66 to 56, with the most progress in war-torn sub-Saharan Africa.

But does this mean the world is a safer place? Via email, we asked Andrew Mack, the Centre's director.

So, there are fewer wars in the world, but is the world a safer place, what with, as the brief points out, armed conflict increasing in many regions of the world, as well as terrorism and organized violence against civilians?

There are fewer wars in total – with a really big decline in Africa, but modest increases in other regions. The number of campaigns of violence against civilians has increased since 1989 but – with the huge exception of Rwanda – the number killed per campaign has been declining.

International terrorism is on the increase in the Middle East and South Asia but has been declining everywhere else in the world since the early 1990s. Plus, international terrorists kill far fewer people than other perpetrators of political violence – less than 400 a year since 1968 on average.

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