A hijab-wearing criminal barrister, believed to be one of the first to be appointed King’s Counsel (KC), has launched an international organisation to inform and empower girls across the world on their rights.
Sultana Tafadar, from No5 Barristers’ Chambers, founded the Girls Human Rights Hub alongside her 11-year-old daughter Safiya.
Ms Tafadar, who was appointed KC last year, is said to be the second hijab-wearing barrister to become a KC after Shaheed Fatima – but the first criminal barrister to wear the religious garb to receive the appointment.
She said the not-for-profit organisation will provide resources as well as training to girls and women between the ages of 11 to 24 to use advocacy, leadership and litigation to make positive change for rights.
The organisation will aim to progress the advancement of gender equity and the eradication of gender-based violence, the right to education, right to climate justice, menstrual equity, and ending domestic and sexual violence.
Ms Tafadar, who has been working in human rights law since she was called to the Bar, said she has seen first-hand the injustices faced by women and girls across the world.
She told the PA News Agency: “We hold the belief that every girl is entitled to a life free from oppression, discrimination, and violence, and that girls’ rights are fundamental human rights.
“Our organisation supports girls in being the essential stakeholders and architects of their own futures, advocating their inclusion and participation at all levels of decision-making.
“We are deeply committed to promoting gender equality, challenging harmful social norms and practices, and working towards a world where every girl can achieve her full potential.”
She added that girls can join the hub and learn from experts about how to advocate for rights, develop leadership and communication skills and even become part of the new generation of lawyers advancing girls’ human rights worldwide.
Ms Tafadar said the idea came from her daughter, adding: “She has always been driven by the desire to become a human rights lawyer and she came up with the idea to create a hub where girls could learn more about their rights and how to claim them.
Meanwhile Safiyah said she is “so excited” to be founding the organisation that can help girls across the world advocate for their rights.
“I want to become a human rights lawyer when I am older, but I wanted to start work to help other girls fight for their human rights now,” she said.
“The Girls Human Rights Hub will help so many people learn about the rights they deserve, give them the skills they need to lobby for them and inspire them to change the world.”
Ms Tafadar, who was born and raised in Luton and has Bangladeshi roots, last year said the honour of being appointed KC was “surreal” in light of the “layers” of challenges she has faced during her career.
She said becoming a QC holds particular significance because she saw nobody like herself when she started out in the profession.
“Representation is really important,” she told the PA news agency, adding that it can help more hijab-wearing women’s dreams of reaching the heights of the profession “become a reality”.