What Countries Still Use Caning As Corporal Punishment?

Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore continue to use caning as a form of corporal punishment, and Indonesia has recently adopted it, as of 2015. Sumatra has also instituted caning under Sharia law. The African nations of Botswana, Tanzania and Nigeria also continue to use caning as a form of corporal punishment, while Swaziland and Zimbabwe use it to punish juveniles only. Kenya, Uganda and South Africa discontinued the practice late in the 20th century.

Trinidad and Tobago practice a form of caning known as birching that uses a bunch of branches rather than a single cane to inflict the punishment. Caning is generally reserved as a punishment for males between the ages of 16 and 50. Malaysia and Sumatra occasionally sentence Muslim women to caning, although they generally receive less severe sentences than males.

The cane is traditionally applied to the bare buttocks of the offender using a four-foot cane or long reed that has been soaked in water. The pain is quite severe in many cases. Caning is mandatory for male offenders in certain countries. Healthy males under the age of 50 may receive up to 24 strokes as part of their sentences for some offenses.

Singapore has a reputation for imposing the harshest sentences. Caning is mandatory for crimes ranging from manslaughter and sexual assault to vandalism, illegal immigration, overstaying one’s visa and other seemingly unrelated offenses.

Nearly every country that practices caning was under British colonial rule at the time caning was introduced, although the British never adopted the practice for use in their homeland.