UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the world's response has so far been ineffective and delayed, calling on governments and businesses to urgently act to "commensurate to the magnitude of the crisis".

Myanmar's military seized power on February 1 last year and has waged a bloody crackdown on dissent since.
Myanmar's military seized power on February 1 last year and has waged a bloody crackdown on dissent since. (Reuters)

The United Nations has urged the world to ramp up the pressure on Myanmar's junta to halt violence against the country's own people and quickly restore civilian rule.

One year on since the military seized power, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Friday that the country's people had paid a high price in terms of lives and freedoms lost.

Bachelet said that while there had been near-universal condemnation of the coup and the ensuing violence, she branded the international response as "ineffectual", saying it "lacks a sense of urgency commensurate to the magnitude of the crisis".

"It is time for an urgent, renewed effort to restore human rights and democracy in Myanmar and ensure that perpetrators of systemic human rights violations and abuses are held to account," she said.

The former Chilean president said the UN Security Council and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had not done enough to convince the junta to facilitate humanitarian access.

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Deaths, detentions and impunity

Myanmar's military seized power on February 1 last year, ousting the civilian government and arresting its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since the coup, at least 1,500 people had been killed by the military in a brutal effort to crush dissent, while thousands more would have been killed in the wider armed conflict and violence, the UN Human Rights Office said.

At least 11,787 people have been arbitrarily detained for voicing their opposition to the military, of whom 8,792 remain in custody. And at least 290 have died in detention, many likely due to the use of torture, it added.

Bachelet said the current crisis was built upon the impunity with which the military leadership waged a campaign of violence against the Rohingya minority four years ago.

"As long as impunity prevails, stability in Myanmar will be a fiction. Accountability of the military remains crucial to any solution going forward - the people overwhelmingly demand this," she said.

Bachelet said she had spoken with civil liberties defenders in Myanmar who were pleading with the international community not to abandon them.

"I urge governments - in the region and beyond - as well as businesses, to listen to this plea," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

Bachelet's office is due to publish a report in March detailing the human rights situation in Myanmar since the coup.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies