There's a piece here on social and economic rights and the case for regarding them, or at least some of them, as on a par with civil and political rights in being genuine rights and not merely second-rank aspirations. The right to food or adequate health care may be seen as just as authentic and compelling a human right as the rights to freedom of speech and belief or against torture. One objection to this that I have dealt with on a previous occasion is that, to be generally met, social and economic rights (or positive rights as they are sometimes called) may require the provision of resources by others than the people whose rights they are, whereas civil and political rights do not; as rights against being interfered with in one's freedom to think and act (negative rights), all they need for their realization is that people refrain from attacking and coercing one another. But, as I have argued before, this distinction oversimplifies things: the protection of the negative, civil and political rights, also requires public provision of resources in the way of a juridical and policing apparatus.
The opponent of treating social and economic rights as truly rights has another line of argument, however. This is that, at least in principle, all the negative rights can be upheld in a mutually consistent way. I can exercise my freedom of speech, and you yours, and Barry Bezonkenheit and Fara Waysom-Uthers theirs, without the fulfilment of any one of these rights getting in the way of any other of them. Me and you and Barry and Fara can, all of us, not be arbitrarily locked up without due process, unproblematically. But it can happen, on the other hand, that there is a resource scarcity such that if Fara and I get to eat, you and Barry won't, or such that if Fara gets her life-saving medication Barry will have to pay for his own operation, which he is unable to.
One response to this is to say that the same can apply in protecting negative rights. A society facing resource problems may have only so much it can devote to crime prevention and therefore face a choice over how and where to concentrate its crime-preventing efforts.
A second, and to my mind more fundamental, response is contained in this. Imagine a game played under two different sets of rules in neighbouring countries. In Miltonia, the rules never result in the legitimate claims of one player coming into conflict with the legitimate claims of another, but during the game - which is played over 50 days, like a very long Test match - some of the players starve to death and others get to need medical treatment for which they have not the mauve tickets they require in order to get it. In neighbouring Bevery, by contrast, the rules of the game do sometimes lead to conflicting legitimate claims amongst the players, but only under severe circumstances which most of the time don't arise. When they do, there is a certain amount of conflict and efforts are made to resolve this by umpires, spectators, local agencies of humanitarian assistance and the International Organization of Game Wardens. Most of the time, however, things go all right for the players, and all their legitimate claims are met. The Bevery version of the game is better than the Miltonian one, I think.