What are Civil Rights?

004-Civil-rightsCivil rights are a group of rights designed to protect individuals’ freedom from private and governmental organization limitation. These rights ensure a person’s ability to participate in political and civil life without repression or discrimination.

Although the list of civil rights can be extensive, some civil rights include the following: guaranteeing safety and life, guaranteeing mental and physical integrity, and ensuring protection from discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation, color, religion, ethnicity, or disability. They also include protection for freedoms of conscience, thought, expression, speech, the press, religion, movement, and assembly.

In many countries, these civil rights are guaranteed in a bill of rights or similar document. They are also defined internationally by documents like the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Many civil rights are considered natural rights, and do not need to be codified to be protected. However, many nations still do not disagree on allowing full protection to some citizens over others. Although these rights to exist, they may not always be protected.

In the United States, the history of civil rights goes back to the early 1800s. In 1804, the Governor in New Orleans was faced with the dilemma of what to do with so many colored militia members. By 1848, civil rights were gaining ground with the document Declaration of Sentiment. This became the founding document of the American women’s movement.

Between 1950 and 1980, the movement for many civil rights became worldwide. One main focus was of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s in the U.S. where the rights of blacks had been violated. Most movements relied on civil resistance and non-violent struggles to achieve their goals. In some countries around the world, the struggles for civil rights became violent and did not achieve their goals.

gay-liberationCurrently, one of the main civil rights issues is gay liberation and LGBT rights. This movement started in the mid-19th century in Germany and is still continuing today. Currently, many civil rights groups are aiming to allow gay marriage to become legal in every state in the U.S.

Women’s rights is also seen as a huge civil rights issue. Like gay rights, it is an issue that is worldwide and a constant battle. In some countries, women’s rights are supported by law. In other countries, they are suppressed and ignored.

Because civil rights are so complex and apply to every person on the planet, they are an intense topic of discussion. So many people have fought for the rights of others over the years, and this fight will continue into the future.