In the second day of his first official visit to Mexico, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged lawmakers to improve women's rights by adding a new clause to North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA.
Addressing the Mexican Senate, Trudeau said "I challenge you to use your position and power to strongly push for the rights of women and girls in Mexico..We must move the needle forward on gender inequality."
Trudeau said the stories he had heard from the rights groups about the treatment of women were "unacceptable," and pressed for imbalances to be checked in a gender chapter within NAFTA, a move supported by Mexico.
He also mentioned the broader issue of workers' rights and urged international unity, "Isolationism is taking hold in too many corners of the world, but our people must not succumb to fear. We, as leaders, must not succumb to fear."
In a similar note to his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last month, he touched on why many Indigenous women and girls feel unsafe in Canada.
"We're dealing with an ongoing national tragedy related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls," Trudeau said. "We must do better at home."
Violence against women in Mexico has risen over the last decade.
The National Citizen Observatory of Femicide says 2,735 women were murdered last year, up from 2,383 in 2015.
Responding to Trudeau's comments, the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's office issued a statement which said, "Mexico and Canada share values, and that certainly includes gender equality and enhancing women's rights."
U.N. Women, a branch of the United Nations, says on its website that Mexico has taken steps in recent years to improve gender equality, but has struggled to fully implement and enforce its own regulations.
Trudeau and Pena Nieto vowed at the close of their bilateral meetings on Thursday to remaining at the bargaining table for NAFTA, despite hard line proposals from the U.S. and Washington's threat to pull out.
On Friday, Trudeau repeated the message.
"A strong North America can only come from a strong Mexico, a strong Canada, and a strong United States," he said.
"We are partners — all of us. And even in the face of unpredictability and change, we must remember that."