digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















"Civil rights" redirects here. For other uses, see Civil rights (disambiguation).

Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples' physical and mental integrity, life and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, national origin, colour, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or disability;[1][2][3] and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, assembly and movement.

Political rights include natural justice (procedural fairness) in law, such as the rights of the accused, including the right to a fair trial; due process; the right to seek redress or a legal remedy; and rights of participation in civil society and politics such as freedom of association, the right to assemble, the right to petition, the right of self-defense, and the right to vote.

Civil and political rights form the original and main part of international human rights.[4] They comprise the first portion of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (with economic, social and cultural rights comprising the second portion). The theory of three generations of human rights considers this group of rights to be "first-generation rights", and the theory of negative and positive rights considers them to be generally negative rights.


The phrase "civil rights" is a translation of Latin ius civis (rights of a citizen). Roman citizens could be either free (libertas) or servile (servitus), but they all had rights in law.[5] After the Edict of Milan in 313, these rights included the freedom of religion.[6] Roman legal doctrine was lost during the Middle Ages, but claims of universal rights could still be made based on religious doctrine. According to the leaders of Kett's Rebellion (1549), "all bond men may be made free, for God made all free with his precious blood-shedding."[7]

In the 17th century, English common law judge Sir Edward Coke revived the idea of rights based on citizenship by arguing that Englishmen had historically enjoyed such rights. The English Bill of Rights was adopted in 1689. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, by George Mason and James Madison, was adopted in 1776. The Virginia declaration is the direct ancestor and model for the U.S. Bill of Rights (1789).

In early 19th century Britain, the phrase "civil rights" most commonly referred to the problem of legal discrimination against Catholics. In the House of Commons support for the British civil rights movement was divided, many more largely known politicians supported the discrimination towards Catholics. Independent MPs (such as Lewis Eves and Matthew Mountford) applied pressure on the larger parties to pass the civil rights act of the 1920s.

In the 1860s, Americans adapted this usage to newly freed blacks. Congress enacted civil rights acts in 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1991.

Protection of rights[edit]

T.H. Marshall notes that civil rights were among the first to be recognized and codified, followed later by political rights and still later by social rights. In many countries, they are constitutional rights and are included in a bill of rights or similar document. They are also defined in international human rights instruments, such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1967 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Civil and political rights need not be codified to be protected, although most democracies worldwide do have formal written guarantees of civil and political rights. Civil rights are considered to be natural rights. Thomas Jefferson wrote in his A Summary View of the Rights of British America that "a free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."

The question of to whom civil and political rights apply is a subject of controversy. In many countries, citizens have greater protections against infringement of rights than non-citizens; at the same time, civil and political rights are generally considered to be universal rights that apply to all persons.

Other rights[edit]

Custom also plays a role. Implied or unenumerated rights are rights that courts may find to exist even though not expressly guaranteed by written law or custom; one example is the right to privacy in the United States, and the Ninth Amendment explicitly shows that there are other rights that are also protected.

The United States Declaration of Independence states that people have unalienable rights including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". It is considered by some that the sole purpose of government is the protection of life, liberty and property.[8] The right to self-defense is embodied in the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

Ideas of self-ownership and cognitive liberty affirm rights to choose the food one eats,[9][10][11] the medicine one takes,[12][13][14] the habit one indulges.[15][16][17]

Civil rights movement[edit]

Savka Dabčević-Kučar, Croatian Spring participant; Europe's first female prime minister

Civil rights guarantee equal protection under the law. When civil and political rights are not guaranteed to all as part of equal protection of laws, or when such guarantees exist on paper but are not respected in practice, opposition, legal action and even social unrest may ensue.

Some historians suggest that New Orleans was the cradle of the civil rights movement in the United States, due to the earliest efforts of Creoles to integrate the military en masse.[18] W.C.C. Claiborne, appointed by Thomas Jefferson to be governor of the Territory of Orleans, formally accepted delivery of the French colony on December 20, 1803. Free men of color had been members of the militia for decades under both Spanish and French control of the colony of Louisiana. They volunteered their services and pledged their loyalty to Claiborne and to their newly adopted country.[19]

But in early 1804, the new U.S. administration in New Orleans, under Governor Claiborne, was faced with a dilemma previously unknown in the United States, i.e., the integration of the military by incorporating entire units of previously established "colored" militia.[20] See, e.g., the February 20, 1804 letter to Claiborne from Secretary of War Henry Dearborn that "it would be prudent not to increase the Corps, but to diminish, if it could be done without giving offense." [21]

Civil Rights movements in the United States gathered steam by 1848 with such documents as the Declaration of Sentiment.[22][broken citation] Consciously modeled after the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments became the founding document of the American women's movement, and it was adopted at the Seneca Falls Convention, July 19 and 20, 1848.[23][broken citation]

The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. The movement had a legal and constitutional aspect, and resulting in much law-making at both national and international levels. It also had an activist side, particularly in situations where violations of rights were widespread. Movements with the proclaimed aim of securing observance of civil and political rights included:

Most civil rights movements relied on the technique of civil resistance, using nonviolent methods of struggle, to achieve their aims.[24] In some countries, struggles for civil rights were accompanied, or followed, by civil unrest and even armed rebellion. While civil rights movements over the last sixty years have resulted in an extension of civil and political rights, the process was long and tenuous in many countries, and many of these movements did not achieve or fully achieve their objectives.

Problems and analysis[edit]

Questions about civil and political rights have frequently emerged. For example, to what extent should the government intervene to protect individuals from infringement on their rights by other individuals, or from corporations — e.g., in what way should employment discrimination in the private sector be dealt with?

Political theory deals with civil and political rights. Robert Nozick and John Rawls expressed competing visions in Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia and Rawls' A Theory of Justice. Other influential authors in the area include Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld and Jean Edward Smith.

First-generation rights[edit]

First-generation rights, often called "blue" rights, deal essentially with liberty and participation in political life. They are fundamentally civil and political in nature, as well as strongly individualistic: They serve negatively to protect the individual from excesses of the state. First-generation rights include, among other things, freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, (in some countries) the right to keep and bear arms, freedom of religion and voting rights. They were pioneered in the United States by the Bill of Rights and in France by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in the 18th century, although the right to due process goes back to the Magna Carta of 1215 and the Rights of Englishmen. They were enshrined at the global level and given status in international law first by Articles 3 to 21 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and later in the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Civil Rights act of 1964, ourdocuments.gov
  2. ^ Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, accessboard.gov
  3. ^ Summary of LGBT civil rights protections, by state, at Lambda Legal, lambdalegal.org
  4. ^ A useful survey is Paul Sieghart, The Lawful Rights of Mankind: An Introduction to the International Legal Code of Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 1985.
  5. ^ Mears, T. Lambert, Analysis of M. Ortolan's Institutes of Justinian, Including the History and, p. 75.
  6. ^ Fahlbusch, Erwin and Geoffrey William Bromiley, The encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 4, p. 703.
  7. ^ "Human Rights: 1500-1760 - Background". Nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  8. ^ House Bill 4
  9. ^ Mark Nugent (July 23, 2013). "The Fight for Food Rights (Review of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle Over Who Decides What We Eat by David Gumpert)". The American Conservative. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ Robert Book (March 23, 2012). "The Real Broccoli Mandate". Forbes. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  11. ^ Meredith Bragg & Nick Gillspie (June 21, 2013). "Cheese Lovers Fight Idiotic FDA Ban on Mimolette Cheese!". Reason. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ Jessica Flanigan (July 26, 2012). "Three arguments against prescription requirements". Journal of Medical Ethics. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  13. ^ Kerry Howley (August 1, 2005). "Self-Medicating in Burma: Pharmaceutical freedom in an outpost of tyranny". Reason. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  14. ^ Daniel Schorn (February 11, 2009). "Prisoner Of Pain". 60 Minutes. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ Emily Dufton (Mar 28, 2012). "The War on Drugs: Should It Be Your Right to Use Narcotics?". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ Doug Bandow (2012). "From Fighting the Drug War to Protecting the Right to Use Drugs - Recognizing a Forgotten Liberty". Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom. Chapter 10. Fraser Institute. pp. 253–280. 
  17. ^ Thomas Szasz (1992). Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market. Praeger. 
  18. ^ Eaton, Fernin. "Louisiana's Free People of Color-Digitization Grant-letter in support". Retrieved June 7, 2013. 
  19. ^ Carter, Clarence (1940). The Territorial Papers of the United States, Vol. IX, The Territory of Orleans. p. 174. 
  20. ^ Eaton, Fernin. "1811 Slave Uprising, etc". Salon Publique, Pitot House, November 7, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2013. 
  21. ^ Rowland, Dunbar (1917). Official Letter Books of W.C.C. Claiborne, 1801-1816 2. Mississippi Dept. of Archives & History. pp. 54–55. 
  22. ^ "Signatures to the Seneca Falls Convention 'Declaration of Sentiments'". American History Online, Facts On File, Inc.
  23. ^ Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn. "Declaration of Rights and Sentiments". Encyclopedia of Women's History in America, Second Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2000. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc.
  24. ^ Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash (eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present, Oxford University Press, 2009. Includes chapters by specialists on the various movements.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_and_political_rights — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
272443 videos foundNext > 

Civil and Political Rights

Civil and political rights have a long tradition, but we are still on our way to realizing them for all members of society. In this lesson we will talk a lit...

Focus Human Rights: Violations, History, First Dimension

First part of the series "Focus Human Rights". It deals with Civil and Political Rights, with Human Rights violations and the history of Human Rights. This f...

Introduction to Human Rights | Lesson 6: "Civil and Political Rights I"

This lesson is part of an International Human Rights free online course. You may follow it in Udemy http://www.udemy.com/introduction-to-human-rights/ or in our Youtube channel http://youtube.com/m...

Introduction to Human Rights | Lesson 8: "Civil and Political Rights III"

This lesson is part of an International Human Rights free online course. You may follow it in Udemy http://www.udemy.com/introduction-to-human-rights/ or in our Youtube channel http://youtube.com/m...

#2: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

For more information on civil and political rights, check out: http://www.amnesty.org.au/ http://getup.org.au/ And check us out at http://www.unyouth.org.au.

Governing Body Tramples On Civil and Political Rights Of Jehovah's Witnesses

Here are the websites 1 http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights.

Abdul Rahman Pazhwak on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - 1966

Statement by Abdul Rahman Pazhwak (Afghanistan), President of the General Assembly, on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - Twenty-firs...

Qaiser Siddiqui on Civil and Political Rights ... Part I

My interview on PTV on Pakistan's ratification of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Convention Against Torture.

Violations of civil and political rights

Important input of HRETV Episode (9) - "Political Rights" လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးစကားသံ အပိုင္း(၉) - "ႏိုင္ငံေရး အခြင့္အေရး" မွ အဓိကေကာက္ႏႈတ္ခ်က္ျဖစ္တဲ့ "ႏိုင္ငံေရး အခ...

Qaiser Siddiqui on Civil and Political Rights ... Part III

My interview on PTV on Pakistan's ratification of International Covenant on civil and Political Rights and Convention Against Torture.

272443 videos foundNext > 

313 news items

Bangkok Post
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:09:06 -0700

"The right to freedom of expression is a fundamental human right enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party and is obliged to observe. "After all, the NCPO has been telling the press ...

+972 Magazine - Independent commentary from Israel and the Palestinian territories

+972 Magazine - Independent commentary from Israel and the Palestinian territories
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:04:30 -0700

The two-state solution is not a progressive cause and neither is a single-state solution — they are just possible means to an end. The only possible goal for progressive politics in Israel/Palestine can be full human, civil and political rights for ...
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 07:03:45 -0700

... exercise of freedom of expression, the establishment of organizations and peaceful assembly with efficacy, and ensuring the right to participate in political and public life is consistent with the obligations set forth in the Covenant on Civil and ...
Amnesty International
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:15:00 -0700

The UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a state party, has expressed concern regarding laws on issues such as disrespect for flags and symbols. Share.
The Intercept - First Look Media
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:41:15 -0700

Many involve communications that are protected by the U.S. Constitution, and all implicate international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States is a party. These activities ...
Open Democracy
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 03:18:45 -0700

This perspective upholds civil and political rights of citizens, pays lip service to notions of inclusive universality of human rights, and relegates economic and social rights and collective demands for development and protection of the environment to ...
South China Morning Post (subscription)
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:46:03 -0700

... to update the nominating committee's composition and the need to secure over 50 per cent support could amount to "unreasonable restrictions" on the right to be elected as set down in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political ...

Open Democracy

Open Democracy
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 02:03:40 -0700

Civil and political rights, by contrast, are human rights, because they can be immediately and judicially enforced. This argument is similar to that voiced earlier on openGlobalRights by Aryeh Neier, founder of Human Rights Watch and former president ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Civil and political rights

You can talk about Civil and political rights with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!