Paschal Raymond was an LGBTIQ+ rights defender who supported the LGBTIQ+ community in the Mwananyamala, Kindoni area of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. One of the main areas of his human rights work was helping homeless LGBTIQ+ people by hosting them in his own home and supporting them in solving conflicts with their estranged or homophobic families so they could reunite.
His support for homeless LGBTIQ+ and sex worker community members was especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus itself and state responses to it have affected queer and sex worker communities in ways that exacerbate existing systems of classed, gendered, sexualized and racial injustice.
Paschal was providing life-sustaining support for LGBTIQ+ people and sex workers in Dar es Salaam until he was brutally killed by unknown assailants on 19 January 2021.
The human rights defender’s body was discovered in a sewage drain in Mwananyamala, Dar es Salaam, in the early morning of 20 January 2021. His eyes had been repeatedly stabbed, and he was discovered without his phone and wallet.
Police in Mwananyamala in Dar es Salaam have launched an investigation into the killing, and have held two suspects for questioning as part of this investigation. Based on the information available, the human rights defender received a phone-call which led him to go to a local shop during the night of 19 January 2021.
Paschal Raymond’s colleagues believe he was violently “hunted” because of his well known work defending the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Dar es Salaam. At the time of his killing, the human rights defender was housing two homeless community members in his home. Front Line Defenders recent investigation LGBTIQ+ and Sex Workers Rights Defenders At Risk During COVID-19, published December 2020, documented a sharp rise in attacks on the homes of LGBTI+ and sex worker rights defenders during the pandemic, after it became known locally that they were housing LGBTIQ+ people or sex workers at risk of homelessness, hunger and police violence on the streets. The report includes several cases of physical and sexual assaults on LGBTIQ+ and sex worker community members living with human rights defenders in Tanzania.