Political Terror

The Political Terror Scale is one of the 23 indicators of peace measured by the Global Peace Index. It is an 'internal' indicator of peace, meaning it measures peace within a country.


The Political Terror Scale is a qualitative assessment of the levels of political violence and terror that a country experiences in a given year. Political violence and terror in this sense refers to state-sanctioned killings, torture and imprisonment.


The Political Terror Scale is scored on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least political terror and 5 the most.

In countries with low political terror, there is a secure rule of law, people are not summarily imprisoned and torture is exceptionally rare.

Countries that score 5 have widespread terror across the population, encompassing even those with little connection to politics. Leaders place no limits on their pursuit of personal or ideological goals.


The Political Terror Scale has been produced since the early 1980s, and is a qualitative assessment, analysed and compiled from data provided from Amnesty International and the US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

Other Global Peace Index Indicators

The Global Peace Index is comprised of 23 indicators that measure the existence or absence of violence or the fear of violence. These include:

Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict

External Conflicts Fought

Internal Conflicts Fought

Deaths from External Conflict

Deaths from Internal Conflict

Intensity of Internal Conflict

Neighbouring Countries Relations

Societal safety and security

Perceptions of Criminality

Displaced People

Political Instability

Political Terror

Terrorism Impact


Violent Crime

Violent Demonstrations


Security Officers and Police


Military Expenditure

Armed Services Personnel

Weapons Imports

Weapons Exports

UN Peacekeeping Funding

Nuclear and Heavy Weapons

Access to Weapons

Global Peace Index methdology 

Find out more about how the Global Peace Index is constructed, what it measures and what the results show in the Global Peace Index Report

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Global Peace Index Methodology

The Global Peace Index measures the state of peace in 162 countries according to 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators of peace. Find out more about how the index is constructed, a description of the indicators and the scores.

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