Civil Rights

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Civil Rights the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality. The civil rights are usually embodied in legal doctrines or constitutional documents for enforcement, if needed, by the custodians of law. These are defended on grounds of the necessity to protect citizens against abuse of power by the state and its agencies. Such abuse has been common under totalitarian regimes and in weak democracies. The rights are, however, enjoyable subject to clear limits identified in relation to the same rights of others, and the need to ensure the common good. Civil rights and human rights movements around the world have given a new meaning to these rights in modern times, especially since the American Civil War, which gave the slaves the right to be free. The 1964 Civil Rights Act in the United States embodies the civil rights of citizens and encodes the way to enforce them.

In Bangladesh, the civil rights of citizens are enshrined in the constitution of 1972 under fundamental rights, and their enforcement through the superior court of law is guaranteed. Some of these rights are: equality before law, non-discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, equality of women with men in all spheres of the state and of public life, equality of opportunity in public employment, right to protection of law, right to life and personal liberty, safeguards against unlawful arrest and detention, protection against forced labour, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of thought and conscience and of speech, freedom of profession or occupation, freedom of religion, rights to property, and protection of home and privacy of communication. [Enamul Haq]