Being a citizen of a country is a privilege that brings rights and responsibilities.
People live all over the world. In every country, there are different states and regions, each with their own communities. Whether large or small, these communities are all made up of people who are called “citizens.”
A citizen is a member of a country, city or town. Usually, citizens have certain responsibilities in the place where they live or the group they are a part of. For example, a citizen may volunteer at the fire department or help keep the community clean by not littering and recycling. In a democracy the main responsibility for a citizen is to go to elections and vote for the community's leaders. And a citizen has to follow the rules of the community or the group, which makes it easier for all the other citizens to live and work happily together.
All citizens have rights. First of all there is the right to live in safety and freedom. There are rights to own property and goods, there is the right to go to school and to have access to food. And there are rights to seek health care in a hospital. Also citizen have the right to use roads and parks or trains and subways. A country’s or city’s government is responsible for guaranteeing these rights. However not all countries in the world make sure that their citizen obtain their rights.
Becoming a citizen is a legal process. When a person is born in a country, he or she automatically is a citizen – provided their birth is officially registered. But if a person moves to another country and wants to live there permanently, he or she may have to fill out documents and send them to the government to ask for permission to be a citizen of the new country.
More and more people see themselves as global citizens. This refers to people who take action locally where they live but also think about how their choices can impact the entire world. Being a global citizen means learning about the world and treating all people as equals, and with kindness and respect. It does not matter what language you speak, what country your family comes from or what customs you have.
By Mya Kagan and Megan Devlin (Whyzz writers)