Young Icelanders Review Constitution Skip to content

Young Icelanders Review Constitution

A convention of the municipalities’ youth councils entitled “Stjórnlög unga fólksins” (“The young people’s constitution”), organized by UNICEF, the Ombudsman for Children and the City of Reykjavík, took place in Idnó in Reykjavík last weekend.

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The Constitutional Council, which is responsible for proposing amendments to the Constitution of Iceland. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

According to Morgunbladid, the youth councils of 16 municipalities across the country participated in the debate.

A report will be made on the ideas discussed at the convention, which will be taken into consideration at the Constitutional Council, which is currently reviewing the Constitution of Iceland and will propose amendments to it.

The youth councils concluded that the constitution must be written in clear language and be accessible and that its content be presented to children and teenagers.

“We are presented with the New Testament as a gift in elementary school; why not the Constitution?” one of the attendees commented.

“The convention exceeded my brightest hopes, it went fantastically,” commented Vigdís Frída Thorvaldsdóttir, who is 15 and represented the municipality Árborg in south Iceland.

As for changes, she mentioned the importance of teaching finances in elementary school. “They teach us physics and lots of other stuff but they don’t teach us how to handle money,” she said.

Svanur Pálsson, who is 17 and represented Ísafjördur in the West Fjords, said it is difficult for young people to read the Constitution; it has to be rephrased. “It is the basic laws, after all.”

As for other changes, he said the chapter on human rights can be simplified; it should be enough to state that everyone is equal. He also believes that the clause on Iceland having a National Church does not belong in the Constitution.

Constitutional Council member Silja Bára Ómarsdóttir attended the convention and was impressed by the ideas discussed.

“For example that the president should be able to refer matters back to the parliament. It shows how teenagers are full of ideas and want to contribute,” she said.

Click here to read more about the Constitutional Council.

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