FREE Case Review (866) 588-0600

Civil Rights vs Human Rights | What is the Difference?

Awards & recognition
Free Consultation
If you or a loved one think you may have a claim, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.

You may be entitled to recover compensation and our legal team can help. Please click the button below for a Free Consultation or call us toll-free 24 hrs/day for legal advice by dialing (866) 588-0600.

Start My Free Case Evaluation

Human rights and civil rights are two different types of rights. They both have their own features and characteristics.

With years of experience under our belt in the legal field, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on the differences between civil rights and human rights. Here’s what you need to know to better grasp these two.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Human rights are rights that everyone has just because they are human. On the other hand, civil rights are rights that people have only because the law says they can.
  • Civil rights are put in place to protect people. The main goal of civil rights is to make sure that every person has personal rights.
  • Human rights are the rights that all people have. These rights are given to us when we are born.

What are Human Rights?

A group of people rallying outside

Human rights are the rights that every human being has just because they are human. No nation or state can ever take these rights away from us because they are considered universal. Human rights are based on the belief that all people are equal [1].

All human beings have the same basic rights, no matter where they live, what language they speak, their religion, or their skin color.

Examples of Fundamental Human Rights:

  • The human right to life
  • The human right to liberty
  • The human right to a fair trial
  • The human right to freedom of expression or free speech

Human rights violations are when human rights are taken away from an individual [2]. No nation in the world can rightfully deprive anyone of their basic human rights.

The United Nations general assembly adopted The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, enacted in 1948, which protects human rights under international law [3].

What are Civil Rights?

A person reading a book with a magnifying glassCivil rights are people’s rights only because the law says these rights should exist. The government can take away these rights if they are not written down in law.

In other words, Civil rights are personal rights that are guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and federal laws. Federal laws, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, help protect people from being mistreated or discriminated against [4].

Civil rights tend to make sure that every person has fundamental rights. Civil rights help to protect citizens by national laws or governing bodies from being mistreated because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

Examples of Civil Rights:

  • The civil right to vote
  • The civil right to a fair trial
  • The civil right to freedom of expression or free speech
  • The civil right to an education
  • The civil right to equal protection

Civil rights protect individuals from discrimination. Discrimination is when somebody is mistreated because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability and it is against the law [5].

Civil rights violations are when somebody’s civil right is taken away in both a civil and political society. 

“I think we’re at a crossroads now for opportunity. There are some areas where we’ve made great progress. For example, African American women have made the most progress of any group in college attendance — a remarkable success story. But in many other areas America is in real trouble.”– Alan Jenkins, Executive director and co-founder of The Opportunity Agenda

Related Articles:

International Difference

A bunch of international flags laid out

Civil rights are different from one nation to another, and they can be taken away if they are not written down in law. Other differences include:

  1. The rules of civil rights vary greatly depending on the type of country. However, human rights are universal and will always apply in all or many countries on an international level.
  2. Civil rights protect people from other people’s mistakes. 
  3. Each country has its own civil rights. But human rights are the same for every human being in a country.
  4. Civil rights are different based on the law, state, and religion. Human rights are different based on if the person is human or not.
  5. Civil rights are important for citizens of one nation. Human rights are important for people.
  6. International organizations and courts are less likely to get involved in a nation’s violation of civil rights than they are in human rights violations.

Related Article: USC Gynecologist Sexual Abuse Class Action Suit

See the other sexual abuse litigations we’ve covered.

FAQs

What is the difference between human rights and civil rights?

The difference between human rights and civil rights is that civil rights are things that we are entitled to by law, while human rights are things that we are entitled to by virtue of being human.

Human rights are universal and inalienable, while rights can vary depending on the country and its laws.

Are human rights and civil liberties the same?

No, human rights and civil liberties are not the same. Civil liberties are freedoms that are guaranteed by the Constitution, while human rights are inherent to all humans.

The Bottom Line

Human and civil rights are two types of human rights that seek to prevent individuals from being mistreated. Civil rights, on the other hand, are granted by the state. Human rights are inherent to all people, making us universally protected in all other countries.

It is critical to be conscious of both sorts of rights for everyone to be treated fairly.

If you feel that you have had your human rights or civil rights violated, contact us at The Schmidt & Clark law firm to speak with a knowledgeable civil rights attorney and get your free consultation.


References:

  1. https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/human-rights
  2. https://www.echr.coe.int/documents/convention_eng.pdf
  3. https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights 
  4. https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/faqs/what-are-civil-rights/101/index.html
  5. https://library.fiveable.me/ap-gov/unit-3/unit-3-overview-civil-liberties-civil-rights/study-guide/eOK3kmnHUP9x3rEUBJMr

Free Confidential Case Evaluation

Verified 100% Secure SiteTo contact us for a free review of your potential case, please fill out the form below or call us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing: (866) 588-0600.