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Say no to EU visa discrimination after Zimbabwean band forced to cancel tour

In the lead up to their European tour this summer, the band Mokoomba was billed "The Next Generation of Zimbabwean Hope" in recognition of their story of diversity and perseverance: they come from one of Zimbabwe's smallest rural villages and sing in Tonga, a language foreign to even the majority of Zimbabweans.

But just a week before the first concert, Freemuse reports that the young artists, whose songs often speak of Zimbabwe's social ills, such as the HIV pandemic, were forced to cancel their tour because of blocked visas. Sign a petition against EU visa discrimination.

The Mokoomba tour is part of the Music Crossroads programme, the largest youth empowerment programme in Southern Africa, supported and funded by the Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish governments.

On 8 June, the two organisations Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI) and Music Crossroads announced that they had been forced to cancel Mokoomba's European tour due to blocked visas.

"Difficult, inflexible, and un-transparent visa procedures have led the music community to a crisis point. Many concert organisers are no longer able to take the risk in booking artists from countries where visas are required, knowing what issues may arise later when artists are blocked behind borders" said JMI. "It is not difficult to guess which countries' artists will be cut out of the picture."

Although the European Union signed the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity in 2006, committing Europe to develop "measures in developed countries with a view to facilitating access to their territory for cultural activities from developing countries," administrative procedures have yet to reflect the convention.

Sign this petition that demands the European Commission to review visa procedures for artists from developing countries
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