Vietnam has been ranked 34th among 158 countries in the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2012, four places up against 2011.

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), an Australia-based global non-profit research organization, released the results on June 12.

Findings were based on 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators , which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict and the degree of militarisation.

In Southeast Asia , Vietnam ranked after Malaysia (20th) and Singapore (23rd).

The Middle East came in as the most dangerous area whereas Western Europe continued as the most peaceful region in the world during the past six years.

Iceland tops the list and Somalia ends the list.

It was found that most areas around the world saw improvement last year, except for North Africa and the Middle East .

Countries that seriously went backward included Syria , falling back from 30th to 147th, and then Egypt , Tunisia and Oman .

The Asia Pacific region's overall score improved by the largest extent from last year and included three of the top five risers.

The GPI is the world's leading measure of national peacefulness created in 2007.-VNA