20 Most Dangerous Countries in the World in 2023, Ranked
Wanderlust may take you all over the world, but some countries are too dangerous to visit, and knowing which are best avoided in 2023 could keep you safe. Here is a closer look at a list of the most dangerous countries in the world based on data from the World Population Review.
Afghanistan’s persistent state of civil unrest keeps the country at the top of this list for the fifth year. The nation, overtaken by the Taliban in 2021, had suffered more than 100,000 civilian casualties by 2019, illustrating the threat to citizens and tourists.
Yemen’s civil war has devastated entire cities and imperiled millions of civilians, creating a precarious situation. The conflict has triggered a perpetual humanitarian crisis, leading to extreme poverty, disease, and food shortages.
A decade of civil unrest is just the tip of the iceberg for Syrians. Systematic human rights abuses, terrorism, and tensions between international forces operating in Syria led the UN to declare the war the worst man-made disaster since WWII.
Alongside imprisoning journalists and political dissidents, the Russian government has created a hostile position for travelers. In particular, the threat of “hostage diplomacy” has grown following Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
5. South Sudan
South Sudan has known internal strife since gaining independence in 2011. The CIA states that the political instability has “kill[ed] tens of thousands and creat[ed] a dire humanitarian crisis.” High crime rates put visitors at risk of kidnapping, robbery, and assault.
6. Democratic Republic of Congo
Decades of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has led to widespread human rights abuses, poverty, and political violence. Warring factions have weakened the central government, uprooted millions, and aggravated crises like Ebola outbreaks.
For two decades, Iraq has struggled through sectarian violence, terrorism, and civil unrest. Attacks against civilians and government workers are common, and kidnapping has affected thousands.
9. Central African Republic
Armed militias have battled each other for more than a decade, leading to rampant violence and human rights abuses. The unrest has triggered a humanitarian crisis, displacing over a million — with thousands of casualties.
Civil unrest and political upheaval have persisted since the 1980s. Terrorism and natural disasters like flooding have added to the country’s hazards. Renewed fighting in 2023 between two factions of Sudan’s military junta has affected the capital and many other cities.
Following Russia’s invasion, Ukraine has faced nationwide attacks, including indiscriminate bombings against cities and deliberate targeting of civilians. Mines may also compromise one-third of the country.
12. North Korea
North Korea exists under one-party rule that gives government officials arbitrary power over others. Tensions with South Korea and the risk of detention mean many countries (including the United States) advise against all but the most essential visits.
Armed civilians, military forces, and terrorist groups have beset Libya since 2011. The country, divided between two governments, struggles with violent crime, including human trafficking.
Several nations (including the United States) warn against traveling to Mali due to potential kidnapping — or worse. Crime is widespread and a nationwide conflict has raged since the Tuareg rebellion in 2012.
Although Ethiopia may not seem dangerous to some, there is the potential for conflict and terrorism in some areas and along borders. Moreover, the Tigray region, emerging from a destructive two-year war, faces a struggle with continued unrest, crime, and food insecurity.
The US government urges citizens not to travel to Venezuela due to violent crime, often triggered by civil unrest and unfair law enforcement. Wrongful detention and extrajudicial killings are additional serious concerns.
Terrorism is an ongoing concern throughout most of Pakistan. The US government notes that Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces are especially dangerous. Politically, Pakistan has seen growing instability following former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest in May 2023.
18. Burkina Faso
This beautiful country can’t shake the threat of terrorism and violence. Besides an enduring conflict with Kurdish separatists, Turkey is impacted by the Syrian Civil War and sporadic political unrest leading to arbitrary detentions and terrorism.
Decades-long conflict with guerilla groups and drug cartels has made Colombia one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Sophisticated organized crime increases civil unrest and remains a constant threat to civilians and tourists.
Source: World Population Review
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Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.