In the course of the so-called backlash against human rights courts, the regional human rights regimes in Europe, the Americas, and Africa are hard-pressed to respond to states which attempt to undermine or abolish them. This raises the question of whether they should impose membership sanctions, i. e. sanctions that regulate the participation of state parties in international institutions. All three regimes contain the legal possibility for membership sanctions such as expulsion or suspension, however, concerned for their effect upon the population and civil society, they have been reluctant to apply membership sanctions. This article investigates whether membership sanctions are an effective and legitimate instrument to respond to state backlash in the current crisis. It adopts a comparative regional approach for analysing the law and practice of expulsion and suspension in the European, Inter-American, and African human rights regimes, before focusing on the debate on irregular sanctioning procedures against Russia at the Council of Europe.