Your status as a human being guarantees you certain rights. However, countries may also grant particular rights to their citizens through constitutions. These rights show values; they ensure that every person or citizen enjoys certain levels of freedom and standards of living. Civil and Individual rights are two terms used to describe the liberties and freedoms that a person has. You may have heard these terms before, but what is the difference between them, and why are they important for you?
Individual And Civil Rights
The simplest way that individual rights may be understood is as the rights enjoyed by an individual rather than a group. Civil rights refer to the rights that human beings possess as citizens of particular countries. You may also be familiar with civil rights because of the term’s popularity as part of the civil rights movement.
Even though their focus is slightly different, many people use the terms interchangeably. The reason that people substitute the terms for one another is that most of the civil rights that you possess also happen to be individual rights, not group rights. For example, the right to free speech is a right granted by the United States government; this makes it a civil right. However, individuals have this right, but groups such as a company may not; this makes it an individual freedom.
Amendments To The Constitution
The amendments to the US Constitution describe the individual and civil rights that you possess. You may remember that the first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights, which protects the right to free speech and religion, to bear arms, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, the right to a trial by jury, and various other legal provisions.
Following the Bill of Rights, sixteen additional amendments, which were added later, protect the rights of certain groups or increase the freedoms of all citizens. Some more well-known amendments among this group are the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth, which grant rights to the previously enslaved. Another is the nineteenth, giving women the right to vote.
The History Of Civil Rights
Civil rights can simply refer to the rights that people possess as citizens of a certain country. The term also commonly refers to a movement in America during the 1950s and 1960s. This movement came about to fight for the rights guaranteed to Black citizens of America by the Bill of Rights. It also campaigned for additional rights such as an end to segregation and racial violence.
While the fight for equal rights continues, the civil rights movement took issues of inequality to the forefront and enacted valuable change. The most influential document to arise out of this period was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This document makes discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin illegal. Essentially, this document promised that any American citizen would have equal opportunities under the law.
How Human Rights Are Different
It is important to understand where your rights come from and how they are applied so that you can stand up for yourself legally if they are ever infringed. Human rights, which are another subset of provisions necessary for all people, fall within the purview of individual rights, not civil rights. National borders limit the protection given by civil rights. The US Constitution protects citizens of this country but does not extend to citizens of other countries. Each country typically creates a document similar to the US Constitution protecting their own citizens.
Since no standardization exists, the protections offered may vary. This may cause problems if a country refuses to grant basic rights to their citizens. Human rights laws, laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, ensure that every human being has essential freedoms, regardless of national origin. These essential human rights include things like life, education, and free expression. Though national constitutions may protect some of these rights, this document sets a worldwide standard that all nations should follow.
Trust The Professionals To Offer Legal Assistance In Understanding Your Rights
Defending individual and civil rights is important, especially if you are a member of a group that has not historically enjoyed unquestioned authority to exercise your freedoms. You may have legal recourse available to you if your individual or civil rights have been violated, whether this be in situations of employment, by police officers or a wide variety of other potential scenarios.
The attorneys at The Brown Firm would be happy to help you understand possible next steps and whether you have a case that can be pursued. Reach out to learn more or to schedule a consultation.