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[Editorial] Achieving progress on ending the death penalty

On Dec 19, 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted its sixth resolution on a moratorium on use of the death penalty. Recognising the poor evidence base for the effectiveness of capital punishment as a deterrent, the idea that a moratorium would contribute to “respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights” seems self-evident. Yet although the resolution attracted 117 votes in favour, 32 members abstained and 40 voted against it. Global consensus on the use of the death penalty is still, disappointingly, lacking, but it may not be out of reach.