The most significant of these is the national-level commission. Its members have strong ties to the Burmese government, military and police, and it is headed by one of the country’s two vice presidents, Myint Swe. A former general, he led the 2007 crackdown on the “Saffron Revolution,” where at least 20 people, and likely more, were shot dead and hundreds imprisoned.

The commission has provided no opportunity for victims to provide testimony free from the threat of intimidation, its interim report last month dismissed almost all the allegations, and its final report, expected shortly, is set to be a whitewash.

And yet the British government insists – against all the evidence – that this domestic mechanism deserves continuing support. It does not. British officials also suggest that international pressure will weaken Aung San Suu Kyi and strengthen the hand of the military. The opposite is more likely: impunity will only embolden hardliners in the Burmese army.

In other contexts, like Sri Lanka, the British government has recognised the importance of international accountability and justice mechanisms, where domestic ones lack credibility.

Next week’s meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva should force a change in British policy. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and others will press the council to support an independent international investigation into the violations in Rakhine.

It’s time for Britain to back this call and show the kind of international leadership that Johnson promised at Chatham House. Those suffering at the hands of the Burmese military are counting on the British government to find its backbone, and fast. (