An Icelander in the Norwegian army has been visiting secondary schools in Iceland, encouraging them to enlist. A member of parliament lambastes the Norwegian military for coming to Iceland in search of “cannon fodder”. It also turns out that recruiting for a foreign army is illegal in Iceland.
Vísir reports that Hilmar Páll Haraldsson, a soldier in the Norwegian army, believes that the military can be a good experience for young Icelanders. Apart from getting his degree in engineering for free, he says, he gets paid for being in the service, and that being a soldier is “adventurous”.
He has come to Iceland over the years, and three secondary schools – Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík, Verslunarskólinn and Menntaskólinn Hraðbraut – have all granted Hilmar permission to speak to the children there, and encourage them to join the Norwegian army.
Árni Þór Sigurðsson, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told RÚV that Icealanders are a military-free people, and he finds it highly inappropriate that the Norwegian army should be coming to Iceland to look for “cannon fodder”. Secondly, he finds it strange that these schools would allow military recruiters to talk to their students in the first place.
Children in Iceland typically start secondary school at 16 years of age.
Smugan has pointed out that the practice is also in violation of Article 114 of the Icelandic Penal Code, which states in part, “They who recruit people within the Icelandic state to join a foreign army shall be sentenced to up to two years in prison.” Stefán Pálsson, chairperson of the Campaign Against Militarism, told Vísir that he’d like to see a student press charges on the matter.
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