Sara is a Doctoral Researcher at the School of Law at the University of Nottingham, where she is also a member of the Human Rights Law Centre's Forced Migration Unit. She is also Adjunct Professor of Human Rights at Comillas Pontifical University (ICADE, Madrid); Associate Tutor on the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies of the University of London; Convener of the ESIL Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law; and Research Affiliate at the Refugee Law Initiative of the University of London and a member of the editorial board of their Working Paper Series. Sara qualified as a lawyer in 2015 and is a member of the Spanish Bar Council.
During the course of her doctoral research, Sara has undertaken research visits to the League of Nations and United Nations Archives (Geneva), Lund University (Sweden), the University of Málaga (Spain), and the Brussels-based Think Tank Research Advisors & Experts Europe. She has also participated as a speaker in various international conferences on forced migration, including at the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), the Asian Research Center for Migration of Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), Queen Mary University of London, and Ghent University (Belgium).
Aside from her doctoral studies, Sara has worked as a Research Associate at the University of Nottingham's Rights Lab Beacon of Excellence, the world's largest group of modern slavery researchers. There, she conducted research for various large research projects, including the 2019 Walk Free's 'Measurement, Action, Freedom' Report, an independent assessment of government progress towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7.; and the United Nations University's evidence-based policy guide on 'effective measures' that can be implemented at the national and multinational policy level to achieve SDG 8.7. in contexts of conflict, humanitarian crisis, and migration. In a consultancy capacity, Sara also provides training and undertakes research for asylum lawyers, NGOs, and refugee-led community-based organisations.
Previously, Sara worked in the field of international refugee protection and human rights. She worked at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in London, where she conducted a participatory study with newly recognised Eritrean refugees in the UK; at Refugee Roots, a Nottingham-based charity, where she managed cross-sectoral projects aimed at facilitating the inclusion of refugees into the host community; and at the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) as a legal trainee of the Americas Office in Brussels.
Sara read Law (LLB/LLM) at the University of Salamanca in Spain and at Queen's University of Belfast (Erasmus Exchange Programme). She received her LLM in International and European Law from the Institute for European Studies (IES), Free University of Brussels (VUB) and her MA in Social Science Research (Socio-Legal Studies) from the University of Nottingham. Sara also holds a Certificate in International Human Rights Law from the Human Rights Law Centre, University of Nottingham.
Sara's PhD project examines how distinct areas of law are interpreted and applied by asylum decision-makers in selected European jurisdictions in giving content to the refugee law concept of… read more
PALACIOS ARAPILES, S., 2023. Enslaved by their Own Government: Indefinite National Service in Eritrea. In: VAN REISEN, M., MAWERE, M., SMITS, K. and WIRTZ, M., eds., Enslaved Trapped and Trafficked in Digital Black Hole: Human Trafficking Trajectories to Libya Langaa RPC. 195-254
Sara's PhD project examines how distinct areas of law are interpreted and applied by asylum decision-makers in selected European jurisdictions in giving content to the refugee law concept of 'persecution', in particular within the context of the Eritrean Military/National Service. More specifically, she analyses how 'slavery' is construed in refugee status determination procedures. During the course of her doctoral research, Sara has carried out fieldwork in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. There, she interviewed asylum lawyers, NGO representatives, UNHCR staff as well as Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers. Sara's research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and supervised by Dr Daria Davitti and Professor Annamaria La Chimia.