German study: world more peaceful in 2007

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The world was more peaceful this year than last, with peace researchers in Germany saying that they had counted just six ongoing wars and 25 serious crises.

17th December 2007

Lotta Mayer of the Heidelberg Research Institute on International Conflict said a greater number of conflicts had eased this year than the number which escalated.

"It makes one a little bit hopeful," she said.

The institute calls its annual tally the barometer of conflict.

The overall tally of 31 conflicts this year was down from the 36 counted in 2006.

Despite the trend, thousands of men, women and children were killed this year in the armed conflicts that remained.

The institute keeps tabs on 328 conflicts around the world, in 130 of which there are elements of violence.

 The six that it defined as war were the fighting in the Sudanese province of Darfur, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

The crushed uprising by democratic protesters in Myanmar was included in the category serious crises, along with the fighting between Hamas and Fatah in the Palestinian territories and the Kurdish conflict.

At the Peace Research and Security Policy Institute in Hamburg, deputy director des Wolfgang Zellner confirmed Monday, "It's evident that a whole range of conflicts are showing a de-escalatory trend."

He said the international agreement on North Korea abandoning nuclear-weapons research and recent Middle East peace talks were examples of this.

But Mayer warned that Europeans were often not conscious of low-level armed conflicts in distant parts of the world.

"There's a trend to permanent friction and long-term conflicts which never get decided," he said.



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