Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and 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, sexual orientation, national origin, color, age, political affiliation, ethnicity, religion, and disability; and individual rights such as privacy and the freedoms of thought, speech, religion, 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. 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 "Rights for Civil" 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. After the Edict of Milan in 313, these rights included the freedom of religion; however in 380, the Edict of Thessalonica required all subjects of the Roman Empire to profess Catholic Christianity. Roman legal doctrine was lost during the Middle Ages, but claims of universal rights could still be made based on Christian 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."
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 Parliament of England adopted the English Bill of Rights in 1689. It was one of the influences drawn on by George Mason and James Madison when drafting the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776. The Virginia declaration is the direct ancestor and model for the U.S. Bill of Rights (1789).
The removal by legislation of a civil right constitutes a "civil disability". In early 19th century Britain, the phrase "civil rights" most commonly referred to the issue of such legal discrimination against Catholics. In the House of Commons support for civil rights was divided, with many politicians agreeing with the existing civil disabilities of Catholics. The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 restored their civil rights.
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.
According to political scientist Salvador Santino F. Regilme Jr., analyzing the causes of and lack of protection from human rights abuses in the Global South should be focusing on the interactions of domestic and international factors—an important perspective that has usually been systematically neglected in the social science literature.
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.
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. 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 colour 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.
Despite this, 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. 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".
Civil rights movements in the United States gathered steam by 1848 with such documents as the Declaration of Sentiment. 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.
Worldwide, several political movements for equality before the law occurred between approximately 1950 and 1980. These movements had a legal and constitutional aspect, and resulted in much law-making at both national and international levels. They 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 to achieve their aims. 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.
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, often called "purple" 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, freedom from discrimination, 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 some of these rights and the right to due process date back to the Magna Carta of 1215 and the Rights of Englishmen, which were expressed in the English Bill of Rights in 1689.
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. In Europe, they were enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights in 1953.
The civil rights movement was a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for blacks to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. In 1868, the 14th amendment to the constitution gave blacks equal protection under the law. In the 1960s, Americans who knew only the potential of "equal protection of the laws" expected the president, the Congress, and the courts to fulfill the promise of the 14th Amendment.
Capital punishment was abolished in Slovenia in 1989, when it was still a federal republic of the former Yugoslavia. When Slovenia introduced its democratic constitution on 23 December 1991, capital punishment became unconstitutional. On 1 July 1994 protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights came into force. Later Slovenia also adopted the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The last person executed in Slovenia was Franc Rihtarič, who died by firing squad on 30 October 1959 in Maribor.Capital punishment in Tajikistan
Capital punishment in Tajikistan is allowed by Article 18 of the 1999 Constitution of Tajikistan, which provides: "Every person has the right to life. No person may be deprived of life except by the verdict of a court for a very serious crime."
The last known execution took place in 2004. That same year, a moratorium was issued on capital punishment by president Emomali Rahmon.
Tajikistan is not signatory to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims to abolish the death penalty.Capital punishment in Turkmenistan
Capital punishment in Turkmenistan was originally allowed by Article 20 of the 1992 Constitution, where it was described as "an exceptional punishment for the heaviest of crimes". In December 1999, a presidential decree abolished capital punishment "forever".Turkmenistan is a member of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. The death penalty was replaced with life imprisonment.Capital punishment in the Philippines
Capital punishment in the Philippines has a varied history and is currently suspended as of 2006. Capital punishment was legal after independence and increased in use under the Ferdinand Marcos regime. After the fall of Marcos, there was a moratorium on capital punishment from 1987 to 1999, followed by a resumption in executions from 1999 to 2006, and followed - in turn - by a law ending the practice.
Filipinos have mixed opinions about the death penalty, with many opposing it on religious and humanitarian grounds, while advocates see it as a way of deterring crimes.Commission on Human Rights (Philippines)
The Commission on Human Rights (Filipino: Komisyon sa Karapatang Pantao) (CHR) is an independent constitutional office created under the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, with the primary function of investigating all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights in the Philippines.The Commission is composed of a Chairperson and four members. Commissioners hold a term of office of seven years without reappointment. The Philippine Constitution requires that a majority of the Commission’s members must be lawyers. As a National Human Rights Institution, the Commission enjoys Status A accreditation by the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an international treaty establishing an individual complaint mechanism for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 1966, and entered into force on 23 March 1976. As of January 2018, it had 3 signatories and 116 states parties. Two of the ratifying states—Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago—have denounced the protocol.Freedom from discrimination
The right to freedom from discrimination is internationally recognised as a human right and enshrines the principle of egalitarianism. The right to freedom from discrimination is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enshrined in international human rights law through its inclusion in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The right to freedom from discrimination is particularly relevant for groups that have been historically discriminated against and "vulnerable" groups. In this respect, the right to freedom from discrimination has been elaborated upon in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.Human rights
Human rights are "the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled" Examples of rights and freedoms which are often thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, freedom of expression, pursuit of happiness and equality before the law; and social, cultural and economic rights, including the right to participate in science and culture, the right to work, and the right to education.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.Human rights in Burkina Faso
Human rights in Burkina Faso are addressed in the constitution. The 2009 Human Rights Report by the United States Department of State noted concerns regarding restrictions on the press and the operation of the judiciary system.Human rights in Cameroon
Human rights in Cameroon are addressed in the constitution. However, the 2009 Human Rights Report by the United States Department of State noted concerns in regard to election irregularities, security forces torture and arbitrary arrests.International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through GA. Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 in accordance with Article 49 of the covenant. Article 49 allowed that the covenant will enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of the thirty-fifth instrument of ratification or accession. The covenant commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial. As of August 2017, the Covenant has 172 parties and six more signatories without ratification.The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).The ICCPR is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (a separate body to the United Nations Human Rights Council), which reviews regular reports of States parties on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Covenant and then whenever the Committee requests (usually every four years). The Committee normally meets in Geneva and normally holds three sessions per year.Negative and positive rights
Negative and positive rights are rights that oblige either action (positive rights) or inaction (negative rights). These obligations may be of either a legal or moral character. The notion of positive and negative rights may also be applied to liberty rights.
To take an example involving two parties in a court of law: Adrian has a negative right to x against Clay if and only if Clay is prohibited from acting upon Adrian in some way regarding x. In contrast, Adrian has a positive right to x against Clay if and only if Clay is obliged to act upon Adrian in some way regarding x. A case in point, if Adrian has a negative right to life against Clay, then Clay is required to refrain from killing Adrian; while if Adrian has a positive right to life against Clay, then Clay is required to act as necessary to preserve the life of Adrian.
Rights considered negative rights may include civil and political rights such as freedom of speech, life, private property, freedom from violent crime, freedom of religion, habeas corpus, a fair trial, and freedom from slavery.
Rights considered positive rights, as initially proposed in 1979 by the Czech jurist Karel Vasak, may include other civil and political rights such as police protection of person and property and the right to counsel, as well as economic, social and cultural rights such as food, housing, public education, employment, national security, military, health care, social security, internet access, and a minimum standard of living. In the "three generations" account of human rights, negative rights are often associated with the first generation of rights, while positive rights are associated with the second and third generations.
Some philosophers (see criticisms) disagree that the negative-positive rights distinction is useful or valid.Prisoners' rights
The rights of civilian and military prisoners are governed by both national and international law. International conventions include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the United Nations' Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesProcedural law
Procedural law, adjective law, or rules of court comprises the rules by which a court hears and determines what happens in civil, lawsuit, criminal or administrative proceedings. The rules are designed to ensure a fair and consistent application of due process (in the U.S.) or fundamental justice (in other common law countries) to all cases that come before a court.
Substantive law, which refers to the actual claim and defense whose validity is tested through the procedures of procedural law, is different from procedural law.
In the context of procedural law, procedural rights may also refer not exhaustively to rights to information, access to justice, and rights to public participation, with those rights encompassing, general civil and political rights. In environmental law, these procedural Rights have been reflected within the UNECE Convention on "Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters" known as the Aarhus Convention (1998).Right to property
The right to property or right to own property (cf. ownership) is often classified as a human right for natural persons regarding their possessions. A general recognition of a right to private property is found more rarely and is typically heavily constrained insofar as property is owned by legal persons (i.e. corporations) and where it is used for production rather than consumption.A right to property is recognised in Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it is not recognised in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The European Convention on Human Rights, in Protocol 1, article 1 acknowledges a right for natural and legal persons to "peaceful enjoyment of his possessions", subject to the "general interest or to secure the payment of taxes".Right to protest
The right to protest is a human right arising out of a number of recognized human rights. While no human rights instrument or national constitution grants the absolute right to protest, such a right to protest may be a manifestation of the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of association, and the right to freedom of speech.Additionally, protest and restrictions on protest have lasted as long as governments have.Many international treaties contain clear articulations of the right to protest and it is crucial for individuals who are interested in protesting to stay up to date and aware. Such agreements include the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, especially Articles 9 to 11; and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, especially Articles 18 to 22. Articles 9 enunciates the "right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion." Article 10 enunciates the "right to freedom of expression." Article 11 enunciates the "right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests." However, in these and other agreements the rights of freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of speech are subject to certain limitations. For example, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights contains prohibitions on "propaganda of war" and advocacy of "national, racial or religious hatred"; and it allows the restriction of the freedom to assembly if it is necessary "in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others." (Articles 20 and 21) It is important for people interested in protest to note that different places have passed their own clarification of these rights.
Protesting, however, is not necessarily violent or a threat to the interests of national security or public safety. Nor is it necessarily civil disobedience, because most protest does not involve violating the laws of the state. Also, since it is an expression of a universal right, choosing to lawfully protest is not a violation of state laws. Protests, even campaigns of nonviolent resistance or civil resistance, can often have the character (in addition to using nonviolent methods) of positively supporting a democratic and constitutional order. This can happen, for example, when such resistance arises in response to a military coup d'état; or in the somewhat similar case of a refusal of the state leadership to surrender office following defeat in an election. During points of widespread tension or controversy within a society, it is important for government institutions to recognize this right. A democracy's ability to preserve its citizen's right to protest is a result of that democracy's "political health."Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association
The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) (Arabic: جمعية الحقوق المدنية والسياسية في السعودية) is a Saudi Arabian human rights non-governmental organisation created in 2009. On 9 March 2013, the Saudi court sentenced two of its prominent leaders to at least 10 years in prison for "offences that included sedition and giving inaccurate information to foreign media", while dissolving the group. The association is also known in Arabic by its acronym HASEM.Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty is a side agreement to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It was created on 15 December 1989 and entered into force on 11 July 1991. As of September 2018, the Optional Protocol has 86 states parties. In addition, Angola has signed, but not ratified the Protocol.The Optional Protocol commits its members to the abolition of the death penalty within their borders, though Article 2.1 allows parties to make a reservation allowing execution "in time of war pursuant to a conviction for a most serious crime of a military nature committed during wartime". (Brazil, Chile, El Salvador). Cyprus, Malta and Spain initially made such reservations, and subsequently withdrew them. Azerbaijan and Greece still retain this reservation on their implementation of the protocol, despite both having banned the death penalty in all circumstances. (Greece has also ratified Protocol no.13).