Wake up to the reality of caning

How can anyone anywhere justify torture? It just absolutely baffles me.

This morning, we launched a report into caning in Malaysia with an accompanying video. Caning may be a legacy of British rule, but the UK ditched the practice years ago.

However, for some warped reason, there is still a misty-eyed glorification of caning in some sections of British society, as this article in The Telegraph suggests. Our report, A blow to Humanity, dispels that naivety built on a Just William view of the world.

Here’s the reality.

In Malaysian prisons specially trained caning officers tear into victims’ bodies with a metre-long cane swung with both hands at high speed. The cane rips into the victim’s naked skin, pulps the fatty tissue below, and leaves scars that extend to muscle fibre. The pain is so severe that victims often lose consciousness.

Now that is torture, pure and simple. And should be outlawed immediately.

And that’s what makes the findings of the report even more baffling. Not only is the practice of caning still in existence in Malaysia, the use of it is growing, and to make matters worse those involved are actually being incentivised to carry out the punishments!

Doctors are being paid to revive victims when they lose consciousness during their beatings – for the sole purpose that their torture can continue. And officers get bonuses for each lashing they deliver – some use the payment to double their salaries.

Each year an estimated 6,000 refugees and 10,000 prisoners are caned there.

The Guardian and the Express were among the few online papers to tell the real story, while the BBC have produced a couple of case studies to put a human element on to the suffering.

Here’s hoping that a few other people wake up to the reality and add to Amnesty’s call to the Malaysian authorities to put an immediate end to caning.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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