Position Doctoral Researcher
Institution University of Nottingham
Discipline Law
Affiliations Forced Migration Unit, University of Nottingham Human Rights Law CentreSocio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA)
Other links University Profile; UKRI
Contact  sara.arapiles@nottingham.ac.uk

Personal Bio

sara profileSara is a Doctoral Researcher in the School of Law at the University of Nottingham funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Aside from her doctoral studies, she works as a research associate for the Migration-Slavery Nexus Project at the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab.

Prior to embarking on a PhD, Sara worked in the NGO-human rights sector (in Spain, Belgium and the UK), providing direct assistance to undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers as well as managing community engagement projects. She also worked as a protection consultant for UNHCR UK where she conducted a Participatory Assessment with newly recognised Eritrean refugees in the UK. Additionally, she has been involved in a number of advocacy activities to promote the protection of Eritrean refugees, including submissions to Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Sara also completed legal internships with UNHCR UK and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in Brussels.

Sara read Law (2011) at the University of Salamanca in Spain, and was subsequently admitted to the Spanish Bar. Throughout the course of her degree, she undertook a study abroad placement at Queen’s University of Belfast in 2010-11. Sara also holds a LLM (with distinction) in International and European Law (2015) from VUB as well as a MA in Social Science Research (2018) and a Certificate in International Human Rights Law (2015), both from the University of Nottingham.

Research Profile


Sara’s doctoral research examines whether and how the mandatory and open-ended Eritrean military/national service could be conceptualised as persecution in the form of slavery, thereby leading to the granting of international protection in asylum determination proceedings. For her MA dissertation, she explored how the legal definition of slavery applies to the contemporary case of Eritrea, with the dissertation entitled: ‘Slavery in the Eritrean Military/National Service? Contextualising “Powers Attaching to the Right of Ownership”’.

Sara’s research pathway is Socio-legal Studies and covers public international law, human rights, refugee and asylum law and policy.