Difference between Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Key difference: Civil liberties are protections against government actions. Civil rights are equal rights of all citizens as protected by the government.

Civil rights and liberties are the basic legal rights that each and every citizen possesses. Civil liberties are protections against government actions. These liberties are protective in nature; they protect a person from too much interference in their rights from the government. Civil rights, on the other hand, form a broader concept. They the basic legal rights a person must possess.

The phrase "civil rights" comes from the Latin “ius civis”, which means “rights of citizens”. They are the basic legal rights that constitute free and equal citizenship. They include personal, political, and economic rights which every citizen of state must possess. In many countries, citizens have greater protections against infringement of rights than non-citizens. However, civil rights are considered to be universal rights that apply to all persons.

Civil rights are human rights that are every citizen’s birthright and which ensure a citizen's ability to fully participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression. They protect the freedom of individuals from unwarranted infringement into those rights by governments, private organizations, and other entities.

It is the government’s duty to protect and uphold civil rights for each and every citizen. Civil rights include the right to use facilities, the right to an equal education, and the right to participate in government. These rights cannot be denied to a person for what ever reason, especially on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Civil rights also include the right to a fair trial, the right to due process, the right to seek a legal remedy, freedom of association, the right to assemble, the right to petition, the right of self-defense, and the right to vote.

Civil liberties, on the other hand, are protections against government actions. These liberties protect one from the government. They seek to restrict the government from abusing its power. These rights are granted by a founding document, such as the Bill of Rights or the Constitution, and may vary from country to country. Examples of civil liberties include the freedom from slavery and forced labor, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, the right to own property, the right to marry, the right to defend one's self, the right to bodily integrity, and the right to keep and bear arms.

Image Courtesy: abbeville.com, citizentimes.eu

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