Introduction to Civil and Political Rights

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Introduction to Civil and Political Rights

To speak of civil and political rights without speaking of human rights is impossible. Most of the rights enumerated in the United States Bill of Rights are also enumerated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Civil rights are those rights codified and protected under the law. Most often, these are rights such as freedom of speech, religion, movement, employment, and education; privacy, access to courts, due process, property ownership, commerce, and nondiscrimination.

Political rights involve one's ability to interact with their government. Political rights include the civil rights of free speech, voting, but specifically refer to one's ability to participate in government (vote and hold office), criticize government, and advocate change without risk of government repression. While civil rights—as human rights—are universal, political rights are often limited to citizens.

African slavery is covered in the chapter Slavery and Genocide. This chapter chronicles key events in the century-long African-American struggle for civil rights from the Dred Scott decision of 1856 to the height of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. To provide a global context for the Black civil rights movement, "Nelson Mandela's Second Court Statement" and "Appeal for Action to Stop Repression and Trial in South Africa" look at the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa.

The capstone of this chapter's discussion of political rights is the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China. The event provided one of the iconic images of the political protest, a lone man halting a line of tanks. The Tiananmen protest was eventually met with a brutal response from the Chinese government, but not before items like the "Tiananmen Square Declaration of Human Rights" circulated widely among Beijing students and political dissidents.

The editors have chosen to include a limited number of articles on Women's rights. The rights to participate in government (vote), hold employment, own property, marry, and found families are all enumerated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Attainment of these human rights is the core struggle of many movements for social equity.

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Introduction to Civil and Political Rights

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Introduction to Civil and Political Rights