It seems to me that rights talk has the function of enabling people to claim a sphere of personal sovereignty, in which their choice is law. And spheres of personal sovereignty in turn have a function, namely, that they enable us to undertake obligations freely--in other words to create the realm of institutional facts that Searle emphasizes in his social philosophy. hence they give the advantage to consensual relations. They define the boundaries behind which people can retreat and which cannot be crossed without transgression.
The primary function of the idea of a right, therefore, is to identify something as within the boundary of me and mine.
[Roger Scruton, The Soul of the World, Princeton UP (Princeton: 2014) pp. 85-86.]