The difference between civil rights and civil liberties is fairly well defined and distinct based on how each term is used. Civil rights are rights granted and protected by a government for its people with regard to ensuring fairness and preventing discrimination with regard to a particular attribute of its people, such as gender or age. On the other hand, civil liberties are basic rights typically granted to all people in a country by the constitution or other founding document of that country and are extended to all citizens without further specificity, such as freedom of speech or religion in the US.
While the terms can seem somewhat interchangeable or similar in nature, there are clear differences between each term. They are often used together when discussing a particularly complicated issue. Civil rights and civil liberties are both legal issues and can both require the efforts of courts, legislators, and attorneys to define and protect these freedoms. In general, they can be more easily distinguished by considering that civil rights are usually fought for by various groups within a populace, while civil liberties pertain to the actual rights people are fighting to secure.
Civil rights are typically those rights sought by individuals in a country or community who are being treated unfairly in some particular way. In US history, for example, there are numerous examples of struggles by various groups to ensure equal treatment and protection under the law in order to ensure all people had their civil rights. Various ethnic minorities, women, and people with disabilities have all fought to ensure equal treatment by employers, the government, and educational institutions. While civil rights and civil liberties are somewhat similar, if a woman is paid less than a man simply because of her gender or someone is passed over for promotion due to his ethnicity, then that would be a civil rights issue.
Where the two often differ is in the way these various freedoms are expressed. Civil rights frequently pertain to how people are treated by others, while civil liberties refer to the actual freedoms that people wish to enjoy. In the US, for example, freedom of expression, the right to vote, and the right to a fair and speedy trial are all considered civil liberties. When someone of a particular gender or ethnicity has had to fight for one of these civil liberties, such as the right to vote, then it has been considered a civil rights matter.