Even though there is a lot of confusion about this, we need to understand that human rights do not come from the government (or even the United Nations) because if the government gives a "right" it can also take it away, whenever it is convenient. For example, North Korea, "In the 1992 constitution, Article 68 grants freedom of religious belief and guarantees the right to construct buildings for religious use and religious ceremonies." (Wikipedia) However, no one could argue that the people of North Korea truly have religious freedom or the right to construct buildings etc. The Khmer Rouge is another example, "Article 20 of the 1976 Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea guaranteed religious freedom, but it also declared that "all reactionary religions that are detrimental to Democratic Kampuchea and the Kampuchean People are strictly forbidden." (Wikipedia). However, the Khmer Rouge government of Cambodia 1975-1979 was a genocidal regime that routinely violated human rights.
Governments can only recognize human rights and govern people without violating their human rights. The extent to which a government accurately recognizes human rights and governs without violating the human rights of their citizens is the best standard to determine whether or not a government is "good" or "bad". Governments that violate too many human rights should be reformed or if necessary replaced regardless of their economic successes of failures. The best example of a government recognizing this principle that I know about is the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776 which says,
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." (Wikipedia)
The economic success of the United States is directly related to the amazing amount of freedoms that the people have had in the past. These freedoms in turn are based on the rights that the government recognized as being from the Creator and which could not be taken away by the government. Sadly now the US culture and government are actively rejecting and destroying the basic foundations that made the nation strong in the first place and as a result, they will probably fail to correctly recognize or respect the rights that come from God on one hand while making up other "rights" to suit their own purposes.
Even if the United States and other governments around the globe, refuse to recognize the rights given to humans by the Creator, this does not mean that the people will lose those rights. The governments do not have the moral authority to remove human rights because they didn't give them in the first place. This is why the Biblical teaching of Creation is so important because the Bible clearly teaches that God created humans, "In His image." God also created the natural world, plants, and animals but only humans were given God's image. The image of God on humans gives humans a higher value than animals or plants and this value cannot be taken away regardless of how weak, sick, young, or old a person is.
Governments can give and take away freedoms and privileges but they cannot take away human rights because those rights come from God the Creator. Only the Creator has the authority to give and take away the rights of His Creation. Governments who fail to recognize the God of the Bible as the Creator, will eventually mistakenly assume that the rights come from the government and that they can be taken away when it is convenient. This is the first ingredient for genocide (Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao Tse Tong, and Hitler).
By recognizing the "self-evident" truth of Genesis 1:26-29 most of our political and even environmental problems will be solved. Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Unless there is a Creator, there is no logical basis for human rights. Darwinian evolution's "survival of the fittest" natural selection certainly will not protect the weak but will tend to express itself in a "might makes right" mentality or in the words of Mao Tse Tung, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." We often lament the bloodshed that results of this worldview but we fail to see it as a reason to reject the natural selection predatory morality of Darwinian Evolution. Even in the "civilized" society of the United States, this "survival of the fittest" worldview is underpinning the silent genocide that happens in abortion clinics because the mother's convenience, economics, and career are seen to be of greater importance than the right of the unborn baby to live. Roe vs. Wade did not take away the unborn baby's right to live, because that right came from the Creator, the Supreme Court only refused to recognize that right. Likewise in the Dred Scot decision, the SCOTUS refused to recognize the God-given human rights of African-Americans. But those rights did not disappear just because they were not recognized or respected.
Now, the survival of the fittest worldview is spreading and is expressing itself in mass murders and in violence through out society. There are secularists who decry the bloodshed but they will not recognize that their predatory natural selection worldview is being acted out. If there is no Creator God, why should we be any more upset about a school shooting than we are about seeing a lion eat a wildebeest? But, something inside of our souls cries out, "this is wrong!" It is this voice of our consciences that proves that we are Created and that it is "Self-Evident" that the Creator gave us "Inalienable Rights."
Romans Chapter 1 verses 18-22 puts it like this. "But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.