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Civil rights are those legal protections granted to citizens under the
jurisdiction of the civil law of a state. They are distinguished from human
rights in that they may be violated or removed, and they may or may not
apply to all individuals living within the borders of that state.
Civil rights may include the right to vote, right to property, right to bear
arms, right to free speech, right to associate, etc.
Civil rights movements have existed in many countries.
In 1964 civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James
Chaney were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. Their deaths shocked
the United States' public and Congress and is one of the events that helped
pass the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In Northern Ireland the Civil Rights movement developed in the 1960s among
Northern Irish nationalists who demanded an end to what was seen as Unionist
discrimination, in the form of the gerrymandering of local electoral
districts to ensure the victory of unionist candidates in areas with
nationalist majorities, and in discrimination in the awarding of local
authority housing. One of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement was
future Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, another, Austin Currie, a
candidate for President of Ireland in 1990. Hume's co-Novel Lauraute, David
Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party in the 1990s and 2000s, called
the Northern Ireland of the 1960s a "cold house for catholics".