WASHINGTON: Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are three of the 13 countries worldwide identified as being at higher risk for terrorism, according to the recently-released Global Terrorism Index.
The report, published by the Institute for Economic and Peace in Australia, found that 82 percent of terrorist attacks occur in just five countries – Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria.
The next five countries seeing a significant number of terrorist attacks include Asian nations – India, the Philippines and Thailand. These nations are primarily at risk from separatist groups.
Many countries – including Singapore – have seen almost no impact from terrorism in recent years.
It is one of the reasons why experts cautioned the Global Terrorism Index underscores how terrorism is both a global phenomenon and concentrated in specific nations.
“Let’s recognise that terrorism is on the rise around the world, and I think that’s true in Africa as well, but let’s also realise that there were 40 times as many homicides in the world as there were people killed by terrorism in 2013,” said Dan Erickson, lecturer at University of Colorado.
“I think it’s important to not sensationalise terrorism too much and yet also understand that type of violence impacts people’s perceptions and that has incredible impact on other aspects in society, not just in the people who were killed.”
The report noted that most terrorist attacks do not result in a heavy loss of life, and there has been a change in motivation.
The primary driver of terrorist attacks used to be nationalist and separatist movements. Now, it is religion, as most recently seen in Jerusalem with five deaths at a synagogue.
Religion is also central to the rise in terrorist violence in Iraq and Syria. The regionalisation of extremist movements has the authors of the Global Terrorism Index warning that more attention must be paid to increasing tolerance and rights as one way to reduce the risk of future attacks.
Countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka scored poorly on key factors such as good community relations, acceptance and free flow of information, putting them at higher risk of terrorist attacks in the years ahead.
Countries at risk of substantial increased terrorist activity, according to the Global Terrorism Index:
— Central African Republic
— Cote d’Ivoire
— Sri Lanka