Data published by socio-economic and political analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft predicted that this year will see that number increase to 75 countries. The report authors stated that “the pent-up rage that has boiled over into street protests over the past year has caught most governments by surprise. Most of the grievances are deeply entrenched and would take years to address.”
Hong Kong and Chile have been deemed the world’s “riskiest locations” for severe protests and Venezuela, Iran and Libya are considered to be destined for greater civil unrest.
The report identified Sudan as overtaking Yemen to become the highest risk country globally.
Sam Haynes a co-author of the report identified the 10 countries most at risk of unrest in 2020 as Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Guinea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chile, Palestine and Ethiopia.
Countries categorised as “extreme risk” included Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
The index predicts 75 out of the 125 countries examined will see a deterioration instability, meaning 40 per cent of all the world’s 195 nations will witness disruption and protest on some level.
Human rights abuses by security forces over the next six months is deemed high in countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, Thailand and Brazil.
The report states: “With protests continuing to rage across the globe, we expect both the intensity of civil unrest, as well as the total number of countries experiencing disruption, to rise over the coming 12 months.”
Maplecroft’s report added that countries with high forecasting “rich in natural resources where mining and energy projects” often need high levels of protection and could face “complicity” if they hire private security firms.
In 2019 East Africa witnessed the biggest increase in civil unrest.
This was followed by east Asia, mainly due to events in Hong Kong, according to Hribernik.
Miha Hribernik, the report’s other co-author and head of Asia risk insight at Verisk Maplecroft said: “In east Africa, Ethiopia has been the most affected by an increase in civil unrest, dropping into the extreme risk category during 2019.
“This is explained largely by a surge in tensions between the government and ethnic minorities, who claim they are economically and politically marginalised,”
Despite efforts by Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, to alleviate the tensions by co-opting major ethnic groups into the restructuring of the ruling party, Hribernik said a further spike in civil unrest is likely in the next six months if elections are delayed or cancelled.
In Sudan, the absence of functioning institutions, he added, means “opposition groups and Darfur militias have little opportunity but to pursue civil unrest”.
North Korea was identified as the most dangerous place to be a protester.
The isolated dictatorship remains one of the world’s most repressive states.
In his seventh year in power, Kim Jong-un—who serves as chairman of the States Affairs Commission and head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea—continues to exercise almost total political control.
The government restricts all civil and political liberties, including freedom of expression, assembly, association, and religion.
It also prohibits all organised political opposition, independent media, civil society, and trade unions.