A top U.N. official says the continued use of child soldiers is grave and unacceptable.
The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu told the Security Council during its annual debate on the issue Tuesday that while there has been some progress on many fronts for children, too many parties to their abuse go unpunished.
At Tuesday's session France said it is drafting a resolution to establish a system for monitoring the situation of children in armed conflict.
French envoy Jean-Marc de la Sabliere says discussions will begin Wednesday on the proposal -- which will require the United Nations to monitor use of child soldiers in order to impose appropriate sanctions.
German U.N. Ambassador Gunter Pleuger suggested the Security Council should widen the scope of the proposed monitoring system to include the abduction and rape of children in warfare and their use as sex slaves.
Tuesday's discussion focused on a recent report by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that singled out 15 countries and more than 40 rebel groups worldwide that rely on under-age fighters.
Areas of particular concern include Afghanistan, Burma, the Russian republic of Chechnya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Indonesian province of Aceh, Iraq, Liberia, Northern Ireland, the Palestinian territories, the Philippines and Uganda.
One of the countries accused has rejected the accusations. Burma representative Kyaw Tint Swe said during Tuesday's debate the allegations against his country were based on interviews with insurgents, and were being used to put political pressure on his government.
Mr. Kyaw said Burma does not have a draft and has measures in place to prevent the recruitment of underage children. He suggested it is the insurgents who use child soldiers, not the government.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.