Human rights cover a broad spectrum of articles, which can be grouped into three categories: the right to life and political participation; the right to economic, social and cultural equality; and the right to peace and a clean environment.
Each enshrined part has sustained frequent attack, in even the most apparently enlightened nations; and the last is the most contested of all.
Many of us persist in the childlike belief that our government has our best interests at heart. They don't. They have the whole nation's best interest at heart. There's a subtle difference.
It means, for example, that an individual perceived as a troublemaker could quietly disappear, if a case could be made for that being for the good of the country. Human rights are what makes this more difficult.
Yet it is naive to think that these rights are welcomed with open arms by those wielding power. No matter what the ideals and principles of a politician, at the back of their minds has to be the notion that governance would be so much easier without interference from their populace. For a start, they wouldn't have to stop half-way through making headway in order to concentrate on winning the next election.
A country's economic growth flourishes under slavery, the absolute monopoly of markets, and the freedom for one nation to help itself to resources, all over the world and without charge, while ignoring the people who actually live there.
The military pipe dream would be to own, in vast quantities, the most destructive arsenal on the planet. World domination is the true ideal, but failing that, then having every other nation so afraid that they don't resist a thing will suffice. Being perceived as too impregnable to attack is fantastic; alternatively, it would work if the rest of the world's population was too fearful of the consequences to even contemplate aggression.
That's wealth, sustenance and security covered. As for home-grown dissent, the freedom to round people up off the streets, and shove them into concentration camps, has proven effective. Anyone could go in there, without trial - criminals, undesirables, people who looked at you funny. It would soon remove the problem. The weak and otherwise useless would face certain death. The rest could be slaves or act as human test subjects in medical experiments.
The major thing stopping any government from attempting all of this is the concept and actuality of human rights. They are what makes us valuable as individuals.