The whole idea of "natural rights", which came to prominence in the 18th century, is intellectually bankrupt. Jeremy Bentham's critique is so short, pithy, and lucid that it cannot be bettered to this day:
"Right is the child of law; from real laws come real rights, but from imaginary law, from ‘laws of nature’, come imaginary rights… Natural rights is simple nonsense, natural and imprescriptable rights… nonsense upon stilts".
His point is simple and, once you think about it, unbelievably obvious. What is a "right"? Simply the promise of someone else to do, or not to do, something specific under certain circumstances. If I have a right to food, someone must give me that food. If I have a right to quiet, everyone within earshot must avoid making excessive noise (where I define "excessive"). Is this beginning to seem a little odd, or even impractical?
What happens, for instance, if everyone has a right to as many children as they can produce? As long as they, or others, pay for those children to be raised, everything looks OK for a while - until we have standing room only and the human race suffers the inevitable massive die-back. But what of the "right" to have children when there is nothing to feed them on, and people are eating each other's existing children because they are starving? The Chinese government has faced this problem and dealt with it, and they get nothing but abuse from the human rights squad. But would a world with 3 or 4 billion Chinese be a better world?
The truth, of course, is that no rights exist except those specifically granted by law. Moreover, in any sane society, the law that grants a right must make sensible provision for the satisfaction of that right in a fair and sustainable way. The crazy idea that "everyone has natural rights that cannot be taken away, just as they have four limbs and a head" cannot be justified. (Besides, anyone who has read any history must be aware that limbs and heads are very easy to take away, and very often have been).
No, the theory of "natural rights" is impractical pie-in-the-sky rubbish. It is up to us to decide what rights people are entitled to; but at the same time, we must make sure that we can afford the associated cost and consequences. Moreover, we should return to the traditional (and logical) view that rights are balanced by duties. Thus, my rights rest on your duties; and vice versa. If I fail to discharge my duties, you may find that your rights are infringed. Arguably, someone who fails to perform his duties should forfeit some (or all) of his rights.
Of course, it is difficult to frame a set of laws that balances rights and duties in a way that is fair to everyone, and that can be practically implemented in the long term. But who said governing was easy?