Corey O’Soup wants to ensure the rights of Indigenous children and youth are recognized on the broadest scale possible.
Saskatchewan’s Advocate for Children and Youth recently served as an expert witness at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
O’Soup says his presentation to the inquiry in Quebec City focused on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“The right to be heard, but also the right to not be discriminated against,” he said. “The right to have the best interests of the child considered in all decisions made about them. The right to life and survival and also the right to language and culture and religion.”
He says his presentation paid particular attention to Article 12 of the UNCRC – the right of children and youth to be able to weigh in on decisions that affect them, such as government suicide prevention strategies.
“What we really need to do is go back to our young people and find out exactly what it is. We need to ask them why, we need them for solutions because I believe they have the solutions within themselves and their own communities.”
He also discussed his recent report, Shh! Listen! We Have Something to Say: Youth Voices from the North, at the hearing.
The report makes a number of recommendations on curbing youth suicide rates in northern Saskatchewan.
(PHOTO: Corey O’Soup. Photo courtesy of saskadvocate.ca)